Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
Book 03: Blood Ties: Chapter 04
Seeds of Corruption
Transcribed by: James
Date: October 01, 2017
In Game date: November, 2011
David Clay was forced to get a backup set of clothes from the trunk of his car after shredding his other suit battling the animated corpses of the Chamberlain family and a very spirited, not to mention demonic, Blackthorn Tree the night before.
Being a golem the attorney did not require sleep and he had been working the night through on the case for Mrs. Reichman who owned the property of the Judd Creek Commune. He noted the date that Fergus Mac Cormaic and Anna Maria Avila had moved into the Commune. It corresponded to the exact time that Raymond Avila had expedited the paperwork for the property reassessment and a substantial increase in value. Because of that increase in value Mrs. Reichman owed a large amount of back taxes. If she could not pay the taxes she would be forced to forfeit the land and it would be sold to the highest bidder. Vanguard Realty had already put down a bid for the property. It was highly unusual for a District Attorney to get involved in such a reassessment. Given that Fergus had impregnated Avila’s beloved daughter out of wedlock and Avila was a strict Catholic David believed that a conflict of interest could be demonstrated in court with a little work. He just needed some cooperation from the members of the commune.
David approached Fergus and Gemtriax Theophania with his plan to show that Avila may have fast tracked the paperwork for the reassessment on the property for personal reasons. Such a violation of ethics, if proven, could very easily get him in trouble with the State Bar Association. He would need the members of the commune to sign affidavits showing how long they had lived there. Including Anna. Fergus and Gem talked at length about this. Gem felt like they should bring Anna in on the plan immediately but Fergus countered with the fact that they weren’t sure that Avila was using his office in such a shady manner. An accusation like that could ruin any chance of good relations between him and the man he hoped would be his father-in-law someday soon. He wanted to talk to the man directly and let him explain himself before making any legal moves. David and Gem were eventually swayed by his arguments. They agreed to hold off on talking to Anna until he had a chance to confront to Avila.
As they left to go to the mainland Gem told them that the sheriff’s office had called and they wanted Fergus and David to come down to the station to give their statements on what had happened the night before after 5pm. She also explained that young Amanda Chamberlain had been taken in by her Aunt while Mr. Wilkins was being formally charged with attempted murder for assaulting his wife and two children. As they made their way to the ferry they passed the Chamberlain’s home. There was a large moving truck pulling in. David knew that two loving families had been devastated by whatever was causing all this strife. He would do everything in his power to put a stop to it before any others were hurt.
The two arrived at the University of Washington campus early and made their way to the library to meet with Adrian Huggins. David had known the quirky librarian for some time now and knew if anyone might be able to shed light on what had happened the night before on Vashon Island it was him. Regrettably, Adrian was working on his second pot of coffee. He was jumpy and ranted in a non-stop, rapid fire staccato of words fueled by a massive dose of caffeine. Fergus wasn’t sure how, but the young librarian saw right threw the veil he used to conceal his tattoos. Perhaps coffee was an effective foil against faerie magic? Adrian started asking Fergus all sorts of questions about what it was like to be Guardian of the Seventh Gate. Fergus was unable to answer most of them and did his best to redirect the curious academician to the matters at hand. When the two had explained what had happened with the Blackthorn Tree and the strange black mold Adrian was able to share quite a bit of information off the top of his head. After all he was a scion of Odin’s Ravens, Hunin and Munin (Thought and Memory) and had an exhaustive knowledge of mystic lore.
Blackthorn trees were long associated with a variety of mystical phenomenon he declared. The Celts called blackthorn trees Straiife. Which is the origin of the word Strife. It was also associated with Dark Side of the Year, witches wands and sealing deals with the Devil. He could dig out more information but warned them that it would require checking out books from the rare books section of the library. David realized that doing so could potentially alert anyone who was trying to contain the situation to their investigation. The attorney weighed the risks and decided it had to be done. Adrian asked David to help him with the research. There were several texts in ancient Hebrew that might contain the information that they were seeking and he knew the golem would be able to decipher them.
Fergus asked Adrian if he had any ideas about the black mold that was clearly linked to the incidents of violence and madness they had witnessed. As the fussy librarian nervously examined the jar of mold David had taken from the Wilkins’s shed he remembered a memo he had received that morning. He searched through the massive stack of papers on his desk and found it. Beul Hall and the surrounding area were being decontaminated by a work crew today because of some black mold. Fergus, not being much of a researcher, decided to go check the site and see if it was related while David and Adrian did their research.
Fergus fit right in on the UW campus. He looked like just another young student making his way to class. As he navigated his way to Buel Hall he heard the sound of chain saws echoing off the buildings well before he caught sight of the contaminated grounds. He became progressively uncomfortable as he approached the work site. The veil in this part of campus seemed paper thin. The Nevernever was barely contained by a small membrane of reality and he realized that something momentous must have occurred here that had damaged it. Frankly he was amazed students weren’t slipping over to the other side by accident.
As he got closer he took note of the work crew busily cutting down a stand of trees next to the hall. Not just any trees. Blackthorns. The grounds around them were covered in a slimy black mold that had become all too familiar to the young Guardian. The bodies of dozens of birds, squirrels and rats were strewn throughout the clearing. It looked to him like they had torn each other apart in a frenzy of violence. The work men wore respirators and full protective coveralls with Vanguard Construction stitched across the back.
Fergus skirted around the site furtively. Various Vanguard conglomerates had been popping up and in his mind the fact that they were involved in the clean up meant he had probably found something. He wasn’t sure what but something. This was confirmed beyond a doubt when he spotted the tall man who seemed to be in charge of the workers. It was the strange man who had stolen something from the Radcliffe Clinic yesterday. The one who had escaped Fergus just before the Fomor tried to kidnap his fiance. He also spotted a young woman who was carrying a heavy tome reading from it under her breath. She moved counterclockwise around the entire site and sprinkled a liquid on the mold. Wherever the substance touched the mold it would dry up immediately becoming a gray, shriveled, dead looking substance and blow away in the wind like a dandelion.
The Wyld Fae measured the laborer’s movements quite carefully. He used a veil to make himself look like them with the same coveralls and respirator joined them at their work. He wanted to get a better look at what they were doing. He overheard the overseer talking on a cell phone and explain that they were almost finished with the site and would move on to the others. He also stated that “she” hadn’t caused any trouble. Fergus was wondering who “she” was. He turned to watch as the woman continued the ritual and was startled when she looked up suddenly, catching his eye.
She looked surprised and quickly shushed him, shaking her head and holding up a finger to her lips. The overseer started to turn to see what she was looking at but she distracted him and put herself in the man’s direct line of sight blocking his view of Fergus. The Fae noticed that she deliberately dropped an I’D badge behind her and then continued her ritual.
He managed to slip into a rhythm with the workers and snagged the badge with the woman’s picture on it. He sneaked away without being spotted, staying in the overseer’s blind spot, just as the woman finished the ritual. The mold died all at once, drying up into a grey, brittle substance and blew away in the wind. Fergus wasn’t sure but he could almost hear a angry howl in the breeze that seemed to protest the death of the mold.
After an hour or so the workers finished cutting up the last of the blackthorns and loaded up the truck and Fergus slipped away. He studied the badge. It was a Level 7 Clearance for the The Radcliffe Interdisciplinary Research Center in Bellevue. The name on the badge was Lucy Smith-Einar. Fergus went back to the library to see if David and Adrian had learned anything.
Adrian recognized Lucy Smith-Einar as the old Warden, Zebidiah Einar’s estranged daughter. He said Zeb was a crotchety old man who had trained Jack Youngblood and his sister Caroline Youngblood to be Wardens. Old Zeb had left Seattle years ago after being severely injured in a battle against a demon. Fergus asked why Lucy would be working with the men behind the Blackthorns and Adrian didn’t have any idea. It did sound like she might be doing it under duress he pointed out.
Adrian had determined that Celtic Chieftains and Kings would sometimes make sacrifices to Blackthorn trees for political power and influence. This would often seem to be beneficial at first with a gain in influence. However, the benefits would always sour and would end in battle and warfare. That didn’t really seem like much to go on.
David had discovered that a Kabbalic demon known as SEBASSIS was also closely associated with blackthorn trees and a “black corruption”. The demon would manifest on Earth as a massive blackthorn tree. Like the Celtic myth Sebassis was said to grant greedy men power and influence. However, that power came at a steep price driving weaker men into maddened frenzies. Sebassis was guarded by Lunatisidhe or Sluagh, depending on the source, who were the victims of murder, often by insane family members. They sought revenge for their wrongful death and would slaughter others in their madness. Sebassis is said to fuel that thirst for revenge while also feeding on their corrupted blood. As the Sluagh murdered more victims they too would become corrupted and join the ranks of the very beings that murdered them and spread Sebassis’s influence. What was odd though was that normal blackthorn trees were somehow transmitting Sebassis’s “black corruption”. David had found nothing about that in his studies and it seemed out of place.
After sharing all the information he had learned Adrian went to make a phone call to his travel agent. He had to get out of the city immediately after what they had discovered. Fergus could tell that the librarian was scared. The young Guardian realized that he needed to face his own fears and he called Raymond Avila’s office and set up a meeting for after lunch.
District Attorney, Ray Avila’s office was very modern and businesslike. It buzzed with an efficient energy as people worked on their assignments with the same calm confidence that Avila radiated. Fergus was shown into a meeting with his future father-in-law and after pleasantries were exchanged he began to carefully probe him for answers. He spoke of Thanksgiving plans suggesting they have dinner at Ray’s home with the family and then maybe have desert at his place. The DA seemed very disdainful of “that commune” and despite turning on his charm Fergus wasn’t able to establish any kind of bond or empathy with Avila. Giving up, Fergus finally confronted Avila about the property reassessment. The DA explained that many things crossed his desk in the course of doing his duties and implied that he had little to no knowledge of the situation without outright saying so. All in all Avila was extremely evasive, cold but not outright rude. When Fergus pushed him on the subject Avila acted offended at the very idea that he would interfere in such matters and dismissed Fergus from his office.
Fergus met back up with David and the two of them made their way back to the ferry. They should be able to make their appointment with the Sheriff’s office on Vashon just in time. David drove them and the two discussed their plans. Obviously they needed to find out what was going with Lucy Smith-Einar at the The Radcliffe Interdisciplinary Research Center. A midnight visit was in order. David also thought it would benefit them to speak with his friend in the Seattle Police Department, Detective Rick Jordan. He wanted to see if their was any correlation between Radcliffe’s real estate acquisitions and incidents of madness. If they could find a pattern they might be able to stop it from spreading further.
Fergus and David were surprised at how busy the small sheriff’s station was. The parking lot was packed to capacity and beyond and it took them 15 minutes of waiting before they got a spot. Deputy Ramsey greeted them soon after they arrived and checked their names off a long list and thanked them for coming in for their depositions. They passed Mrs. Wilkins and her two children as the deputy lead them to a conference room. She seemed glossy eyed and almost like she was in a trance. Her children were in the same condition. All of them had a vague smile on their faces though and the two men deduced that it must just be shock at the previous night’s events. They made themselves comfortable and waited only a short time before a sheriff, accompanied by the most beautiful woman either of them had ever seen entered the room. The two could not take their eyes off of her.
She introduced herself as Delilah Montgomery and the sheriff as JJ Mercer and asked them to tell her what they had witnessed. The two men were compelled by their powerful desire to abide by everything she asked of them. They had no choice. Their wills were not their own. When they finished their tale Delilah told them that they were both very brave and that she was proud of them for finding the little girl in the woods. Their hearts swelled at Delilah’s praise and when she told them that their memories of that night were wrong they felt compelled to listen. The beautiful creature explained that they had found the girl in the woods but had no memory of the blackthorn tree or the Sluagh they had encountered. She also explained to them that the Chamberlain family had moved out of town a month ago. Their had been no incident at that house last night because it had been empty for the last four weeks. This all seemed quite reasonable to the two and all thought of the battle out in the woods the night before was forgotten.
They made their way back to the Judd Creek Commune and spoke to Gemtriax. She was apparently quite stricken by the “tight ass” of Sheriff Mercer and sported the same glassy eyed stare as the rest of the members of the commune. They had all spoken with the sheriff and Mrs. Montgomery who was on loan from the Seattle Police Department to assist with the events of the last night. Everyone had been whammied by the two White Court Vampires just as David and Fergus had with similar results.
But David wasn’t like everyone else. He was a golem. He was not driven by the pleasures of the flesh because he was made of clay. With some difficulty he was able to realize that it was just not right that he would be attracted to any woman. With that realization it all unraveled and he was able to throw off Delilah’s coercion fully. He convinced Gemtriax to do a cleansing ritual for everyone and for the commune in the hopes that it would help them deal with the effects of the memory loss. He understood why Delilah was doing what she was doing. He had heard of her and knew it was her job to clean up messes for the The Conclave of Emerald and The Mercer Family. She had to make sure that the mundane folks of the area never discovered the supernaturals in their midst. Otherwise they would all be rounded up and persecuted. Of this he had no doubt.