Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
Book 02: The Frame Job: 04
Transcribed by: James
Date: May 28, 2017
In Game date: October, 2011
One of the biggest headlines in the local news concerned the robbery of Trevor Radcliffe’s ultra-exclusive art exhibition the night before. There were confusing reports of “flashbang grenades” used by mysterious, masked thieves who apparently quarreled over the art they were stealing as they fought each other before escaping.
None of that really seemed all that surprising to Solomon Castostrani, Jack Youngblood or Charles Samuel Kress. After all they were behind the theft. Everything had gone perfectly up until they were interrupted by a rival thief. A rival thief who they all new as the Denarian Demon, Tenebriel. They had managed to hold off the demon long enough to get away clean. No mean feat given how much more powerful the Fallen Angel was than they were.
What did surprise them all was they had stolen only the one painting as part of a deal made with Henry Spier in exchange for statues coveted by Solomon’s patrons, Ox-head and Horse-face. But the news claimed that seven pieces of art were taken by the thieves. Jack commented that Radcliffe probably stole the other six paintings so he could collect the insurance money and sell them on the black market. Asshole.
Solomon ignored Jack’s cynical outburst and was talking on the phone with a rep from the Emerald City Detective Agency. He was spending considerable money to try and get whatever information they could dig up on Spier. Now that they had determined that the magical properties of the stolen frame the painting was in could save Jack’s wife, Abigail Youngblood, from her terminal cancer they had decided not to give it up. If they were going to go against Spier’s deal it would be a very good idea to know who he was. And what he might want. Perhaps they could renegotiate their deal. Solomon knew that his patron’s would not tolerate his failure to gather the ancient statues that had once guarded the gates of the Chinese Hells.
Jack also made a phone call. He wanted to talk to Tenebriel to find out what her interest might be in the painting. He had other reasons to speak to the demon. She was a rival of Azael, the demon who had possessed Abby for several years. The young wizard hoped that she might know where Azael had hidden his missing daughter. She had been born while Abby was possessed by Azael and the two were desperately trying to find their lost daughter and rescue her from the clutches of the demon. Jack arranged a meeting at the Old Seattle Yacht Club owned by Aaron Mercer for dinner the next evening. He suspected that even the Denarian wouldn’t try anything there. After all she was only allowed into the city at Mercer’s discretion.
Solomon had put a rush job on his contract with the detective agency and early the next morning they had delivered all they could find on such short notice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very useful. Spier had a clean background that was almost certainly falsified. He had payed his taxes, had no arrests or even a parking ticket and no listed residency or place of business. He was effectively a ghost.
Which is what inspired the suspended warden to go to the hotel that he had tracked Spier to when they had first been contracted to do the heist. Spier had warded his hotel room though and Jack had set off a mystical alarm. The ever cautious Spier fled the hotel and Jack had lost him. He hoped that he could commune with the spirits of the old hotel and get some clues to his whereabouts. Solomon, whose unique spiritual nature enabled him to touch and effect the incorporeal ghosts and spirits of the Nevernever backed the wizard up with his intimidating presence. They didn’t learn much. Apparently Spier had set up some kind of ward that had repulsed the spirits in the area. But it gave Jack an idea.
For several hours they went from hotel to hotel and Solomon and Jack communed, cajoled and conscripted the local spirits to inform them if any such wards were in the area. The gambit paid off. The spirits pointed them to the 14th floor of an expensive, five star hotel. They managed to sneak past the front desk and took the stairs to the proper floor. Jack tried to use his mystic senses passively to find the right room but had no luck. Charlie figured he could use his psychometric abilities to find Spier. He lightly touched each door, finding nothing of interest until reaching room 1407.
When he used his power on the door of 1407 his mind was almost destroyed by a psychic assault. He was overwhelmed by the feelings of every single occupant of the room for the last 40 years. Their wants and needs and fears and irritations blasted into his mind causing him to seize up and convulse. Jack, fearing for his half brother pulled Charlie away from the door and down to the stair way with Solomon’s help. Desperately Jack called Charlie’s name trying to get him to snap back to reality.
Solomon used first aid knowledge gained after over 800 years on the planet to treat the young man for shock as he slowly regained his senses. Once he knew Charlie was going to be OK he made his way back down the stairs to the lobby.
Turning on his considerable charms he approached the main desk. He explained to the hostess that he had a friend by the name of Henry Spier who was staying at the hotel and he just wanted to confirm he was in room 1407. The attractive young lady resisted at first but Solomon flirted with her shamelessly. She reached for the inbox for room 1407 and, pulling out a piece of paper from it, explained that if someone were indeed staying in a room she would not be at liberty to divulge their name. She wrote her name and phone number the back of a bill for room 1407 and smiling sweetly asked Solomon to call her. He turned the paper over to see the other side. The name on the bill was Henry Spier. Solomon smiled brightly and promised he would call her soon and he met Jack and Charlie outside.
Solomon had had his detectives follow Spier the next day while Jack had asked some spirits to keep an eye on him too. All they had learned was that the man seemed to have exquisite and expensive tastes. Spier had eaten at an impeccable restaurant and visited the Seattle Art Museum, some expensive clothing shops and other high end stores in the Pike Place Market. But they got nothing of value from the surveillance.
Jack had tried to get in touch with someone at the White Council in Edinburgh to see if they might know something but was completely stonewalled. He suspected they actually knew who Spier was. But once they realized they were talking to the infamous Jack Youngblood they had clammed up. He asked his little sister, Caroline Youngblood, who was the apprentice of the injured senior Warden of Seattle, Zebidiah Einar if she could help. She said she would try but they were keeping her insanely busy and she doubted she would be of much use.
Charlie also stayed in touch with his Paranet connection, Eugene “Grizzly” Grisby, tasking the computer genius with tracking down any information he could on Spier.
At 5am Jack gave Charlie crap about how it must suck to not be able to do what you want when you wanted to do it. He was glad he wasn’t a student who had to go to school that morning so he could catch up on his sleep. That was when his wife’s voice called out to him from upstairs and demanded that he clean up the damn living room like he promised and he better have taken out the garbage or there’d be Hell to pay. Jack sprang into action while Charlie silently laughed.
Jack picked Charlie up after school and the two met Solomon at the expensive yacht club. They were greeted by polite waiters who offered Jack an expertly cut coat and tie to wear. The rebellious young wizard ignored them, wearing his Minor Threat t-shirt, his rune covered, battered leather motorcycle jacket and chained covered engineer boots with defiance.
They made their way to the table where Tenebriel waited and Jack plopped casually into a seat with one leg propped up on the edge of the table. Once they had placed their orders and dismissed the waiters the wizard eyed the dangerous woman sitting across from him. She was wearing a tight tennis dress which did little to conceal her athletic form. She preened and displayed her charms but not for the wizard’s benefit. Solomon was the one who had her full attention. Jack covered Charlie’s eyes as she stretched suggestively for the cursed immortal. Jack reached out with his magic and veiled their table. He informed them all that no one would be able to clearly hear or see anything said.
They questioned the demon about her interest in the painting. She explained that it might enhance her shapeshifting capabilities to some extent and she thought it worth exploring. She toasted the group and said she bore them no malice for taking it though. When asked about Spier she said she had no knowledge of him.
Unable to hold back any longer Jack finally asked the demon about Azael. She said that they were long time foes and that if she learned of him being in town she would let him know as soon as possible. Jack knew that was only because it benefited the demon that he face her rival in her stead. If Jack managed to defeat Azael then Tenebriel would be free of a hated opponent. And if Jack fell, a far more likely scenario, then she would be rid of a meddling wizard who could had taken something she coveted. Either way she won.
Taking a plunge Jack asked Tenebriel if she knew what Azael might do with children. Tenebriel regarded the wizard thoughtfully and suggested that most children would have been given to Nicodemus Archleone to be raised by the cult of tongueless assassins that served him.
The wizard stopped beating around the bush and asked her if she knew anything about his missing girl. She would be around 7 years old at this point. Tenebriel said that if Azael had a personal interest in the girl she wouldn’t be able to guess what might have been done. She watched the wizard with great calculation seing his intense personal interest in the subject. Jack offered to support her at the monthly Conclave of Emerald meeting next month and petition that she be allowed to stay in Seattle if she would look into it for him. She agreed. But only if Solomon would take her out on a date and treat her like a lady. After some haggling Solomon accepted. Reluctantly. He only hoped they all wouldn’t regret dealing with the demon.
The next day Jack woke to find a package had been left on his front porch. It was from Grizzly. It contained a great deal of information on Spier. He had been acquiring many ancient works from around the world for decades. Ancient pottery from Europe, jewelry from Africa, old weapons from Central America just to name a few. Jack read it over and came to the conclusion that the main thing it all seemed to have in common is that all the items were mystical in nature.
Grizzly had also found evidence that Spier was part of an old magic society called the Thule that operated out of Germany during the height of World War II. Their main mission was to acquire magic items for the Nazis. Charlie pointed out that the White Council had opposed the Thule during the war, making sure they didn’t discover anything too powerful or dangerous. He also said that the leader of the Thule, as well as Hitler’s right hand man, went by the name of Heinrich Himmler.
Solomon got on his tablet and looked up Himmler bringing up many photographs from the 1940s of him. He found page after page about the Nazi monster who oversaw the “final solution” directly. Solomon was becoming sick to his stomach at the senseless slaughter from that time that he remembered so vividly. He was about to close his browser when he noticed something remarkable in an old photograph.
In the background of one of the photos from the Thule was a face he recognized. It was Spier! The caption of the photo listed his name as Stephan Heinrich. He apparently was a low level member of the Thule. He had hardly aged a day which suggested some kind of supernatural influence. Perhaps he was a wizard with a lifetime that could span into the hundreds of years. He called Jack and Charlie over to him to show them what he had found when his breath nearly caught in his throat. Stephan Heinrich. He looked exactly like Charlie. How had he never seen it before? It was right in front of him. Could he be the young man’s father? His mind racing Solomon showed his friends what he had discovered.
Charlie completely denied it was a possibility of course. Jack couldn’t really blame him. He wouldn’t want to find out his dad was a Nazi either. But Solomon was right. The resemblance was indisputable. So how the hell had his mother, Alice Youngblood, become mixed up with Heinrich? It just didn’t make sense. The suspended Warden tried to get Charlie to accept that his dad was a Nazi. The teen screamed out that at least my dad isn’t a demon before stomping out of the room.
Solomon texted Tenebriel about Stephan Heinrich and her reply was fairly chilling. She said that Heinrich was dangerous. He was easy to underestimate but he owned a multitude of powerful artifacts and was very, very skilled at using them.
Jack was able to get Charlie to calm down and the two of them worked out a ritual using his blood that would tell them whether or not they were close blood relations. It wasn’t that difficult and used both of their blood. They should be able to determine if Heinrich was Charlie’s father depending on how the potion reacted to him.
They arrived at the Gate for the meeting and Charlie was going to pose as the waiter again, keeping his involvement to a minimum, while Solomon and Jack explained they were keeping the painting. Jack insisted on this for his younger brother’s safety. Heinrich arrived at exactly the appointed hour opening the door and Charlie was nervous in anticipation. He just hoped he had mixed the herbs correctly. If not they could act unpredict…
He didn’t get to finish his thought before his pocket exploded dramatically in a flash of blue flames and cloying smoke. Heinrich didn’t hesitate. He disappeared back through the door and down the street before Jack or Solomon could react. Charlie managed to put the fire out with a picture of water. He realized with a sinking stomach that they had their proof. Heinrich was Charlie’s father.
Solomon feigned ignorance of what had happened when Spiers/Heinrich called him later. Heinrich insisted on meeting at a neutral site. The first Startbucks located in the Pike Place Market later that evening. While they were waiting Tenebriel texted Solomon pictures of her dress shopping. She looked so normal and happy in the pictures. But Solomon knew that he could never think of the demon as a woman. She was far too dangerous for him to take for granted.
Heinrich arrived at the appointed moment and the three of them spoke in low voices over their coffee. Jack explained that they were keeping the painting. Heinrich was all business and refined European manners. If they were not going to turn over the painting then they owed him a finders fee for bringing the piece to their attention. Obviously they had some important use for the artifact otherwise they wouldn’t be willing to pull out of their deal. Jack said he would tell the German the name of the other interested party as a finder’s fee. Heinrich didn’t think that would be enough until he said the name Tenebriel. Heinrich agreed that learning that the fallen angel had taken an interest in his business was indeed valuable information. Urbane and business like, he gave Solomon a card for an attorney in New York City whom he would authorize to negotiate a proper fee for the two statues the Jiang Shi’s masters coveted, then he got up and he left the Starbucks his business concluded.
END OF Book 02: The Frame Job