Campaign of the Month: February 2022
Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
Book 05: Chapter 02
Transcribed by: James
Date: August 18, 2019
In Game date: April 14, 2012
Part 01: From the journal of David Clay
I had promised my allies in The Paranet that I would record any encounters with the supernatural world so they could pass on that knowledge. To teach others how to survive when faced with similar circumstances. My encounter with Fergus Mac Cormaic and the Russians who had kidnapped a young man of his acquaintance seems to have yet again embroiled me in the machinations of supernatural forces.
In the aftermath of the battle on Alki Beach I was interviewed by Detective Sam Volkov of SPD. I had worked with the detective in the past and I am sure that he suspected that I was more than just a middle aged lawyer. He assured me that the first aid I had provided to the woman who had been caught in the crossfire and the police officer that had been gunned down had saved both of their lives. This pleased me greatly. I take my role as a guardian very seriously.
The detective asked me if I could positively identify the man who battled with the Russians and left one near dead mobster with his throat cut, two mobsters with concussions, one with a broken jaw, and finally one with a broken collar bone. I explained very carefully that I did not get a good look at him. He was moving so fast that I didn’t see him clearly. I would not be able to absolutely identify whoever it was with total certainty. Which was true in the strictest sense. For all I know it hadn’t been Fergus at all. Many creatures possess the ability to look like someone else. Volkov looked at me searchingly and wrote something on his notepad. I think he knew that I was hedging the truth. He was remarkably perceptive.
He asked me about the whereabouts of Anna Avila and I told him that I had lost track of her while doing first aid on the battle’s victims. He nodded and said that she had been seen with the suspect by my client, Mrs. Feldman. She claimed that the suspect was jumping around like some kind of superhero during the fight and that he had grabbed Mrs. Avila and they had just disappeared. Vanished into thin air. The Russians were part of the The Sokolov Bratva, one of the most dangerous crime families in the region, and they were not talking at all. If Mrs. Avila had somehow become mixed up with them then she was in great danger. He had no choice but to put out an APB for the missing daughter of the DA.
He then put down his notepad and said that off the record he would recommend that I speak to our mutual acquaintance, Jack Youngblood. If anyone knew something about the Russians it would be him. I informed him indirectly that there might be some video footage from my car’s dash camera that could help him identify the large man who had thrown the grenade covering the mobster’s escape. He told me that things between The Pack and the Sokolov Bratva had heated up again. And that there had been some bodies found that had been frozen solid and asked me if I knew anything about it. I truthfully told him I had no idea what that could be. He nodded and gave me his card telling me to call if I remember or learned anything pertinent.
I got in my 1988 Crown Victoria sedan and went on a roundabout route in deep thought. I decided I would need to get the footage from my dash camera edited and the only person that I knew I could trust with the skills to help me was Grizzly. I was just wishing I knew where Fergus and Mrs. Avila were when someone ran right out in front of my car.
Part 02: From the journal of Fergus Mac Cormaic
I don’t remember much. I was still overwhelmed by the fight with the Russian bastards that had kidnapped my friend Dušan Branislav from Alki Beach. My blood was rushing through my veins and I was battling the impulse to hunt down the jogger I scared when I appeared through the portal. She had run in terror as she saw the green fire in my eyes. We were in a park. It took me a moment to realize we were in Schmitz Park. Just fifteen or so blocks from Alki. It was the only place in the city limits that had old growth forest. It wasn’t large though. Only 50 acres. But the Wylde would be drawn to such a place. It made sense that we came out here when I jumped.
My fiance, Anna was talking to me. Trying to calm me down. At first I couldn’t understand a word she said. But she had my full attention. My Wylde side was in control but the urge to protect my mate was part of those instincts. It took some time but I finally began to understand what Anna was saying. She was talking about taking our child to get her week 12 vaccinations the next day at the Radcliffe Clinic. Perhaps it was the mundane nature of what she was talking about or the calming sound of her voice but I was able to wrestle control again. It was a good thing too. Because we were not alone.
I sensed the first wolf before it appeared to my left. It materialized out of the woods without a sound and put its head down and bared its fangs quietly. Two more wolves emerged from the woods to my right and behind me. I grabbed Anna and was preparing to defend her or flee when I heard a woman’s voice.
“I don’t like it when people bring heat in my territory,” she said with clear menace in her voice.
She was an impressive woman. You could see it in her eyes that she possessed an iron will. She would have to to lead the werewolves in the biker gang. She was as beautiful as she was deadly. She was wearing a lose fitting tank top and cut-off shorts. I guess so it would be easy to slip out of them and transform herself into a wolf. The Pack was dangerous. Their former leader, Dozer, had been a Navy SEAL before becoming a werewolf and he had trained them to use military tactics. My friend, Jack Youngblood had told me that he had been corrupted by a god of murder and wolves named Chernobog. Callisto was their leader now. And she had proven herself just as fierce as her predecessor. No one messed with The Pack. Especially not on their home turf of West Seattle. Everyone knew that. Almost everyone anyway.
Anna turned toward Callisto and eyed her scant clothing with distaste, rolling her eyes and said, “Back off bimbo! Leave me and my man alone.”
I don’t think Anna noticed Callisto ‘s eyes flash yellow at the insult but the three wolves growled and got her attention. She didn’t back down an inch though. My baby may be brash, but she was no coward. I put a hand on her arm to try and keep her from getting us in more trouble, but she just threw it off.
“Oh, my dear, you don’t want to antagonize me. That could prove…unfortunate.”
“You won’t touch me. My father is Ray Avila. That’s right. The DA of Seattle. You even come near me and the police will never stop hunting you and your flea bags.”
“I know you are Jack’s friend so I am not going to tear your throat out with my teeth. This time,” Callisto ground out.
“But don’t bring trouble into my territory again or there will be consequences.”
Anna started to say something, and I put my hand over her mouth and silenced her. She glared at me but relented thank the gods. I lowered my eyes in submission to Callisto.
“I had no intention of starting a fight with those Russian assholes. They kidnapped my friend, and I was trying to stop them. I won’t intrude like that again without asking permission first. I swear.”
Callisto nodded her head in acknowledgement as the wolf behind me yipped quietly. I looked over to see what it was all about and noticed that the others had vanished as quietly as they had appeared. I looked back at Callisto but the woman was also gone. We were alone in the trees.
“Baby, what the hell was that all about? Why did you apologize to that skank?” Anna demanded. She saw the look of intense relief on my face and searched my eyes. “What?”
“Baby, those were werewolves. They could have torn us to pieces and you insulted them," I told her quietly but insistently. "We could have died and left our daughter an orphan.”
Anna looked stunned. “You should have told me.”
“I tried, baby. I tried. But you need to listen to me and trust my judgement more. I know Gem is teaching a lot about the supernatural, but there are things out there that you don’t yet understand. You have to be more careful.”
Anna started to reply when we both heard the sound of a police radio echo through the trees. “Be advised that the description given by the jogger matches that of Anna Maria Avila. Last seen in the hands of a suspect involved in the shootout on Alki Beach. Approach with caution.”
My senses were those of a predator. Finely tuned. I could hear the two officers approaching from the south while two more were coming down the trail to the north. I kissed Anna and turned to run. I knew she would be safe with the cops.
“Don’t move! Seattle Police!” yelled one of the officers. I didn’t want to fight the police so I used a glamour to create the illusion that I was running through the trees to the east and the four officers took off after it immediately. I concealed myself under a veil of magic becoming all but invisible and slipped past the officers heading for the street as quietly as I could manage. I emerged from the park and nearly got run down by a Crown Vic. David Clay rolled down his window and said, “Come with me if you want to live.”
I don’t even think he was making a joke. Nor would he get the cultural reference. He was a great guy but completely clueless at times. He always seemed to show up in the right place at the right time though.
Part 03: From the journal of David Clay
Fergus Mac Cormaic had become an ally and even a friend in a very short time. I admired the young man’s tenacity and dedication to his family as well as his willingness to defend the innocent. Like me, he struggled with his own inner demon. My rage was born in righteousness but if I lost control people would die. Many people. Fergus was just starting to realize that his own wild nature was a burden equal to my own. I questioned him deeply about the fight with the Russian gangsters and his answers satisfied me. He did not initiate the conflict that put so many lives in danger. He was trying to protect a friend. However, he had cut the throat out of one of his opponents who had nearly died. I pointed this out to him and emphasized that the must learn to contain himself. He agreed. Satisfied I drove us to see our ally and Paranet computer expert, Grizzly.
We were greeted at the door by Grizzly’s wife, Rhoswen Grisby. She was as bubbly and pleasant as usual and I admired her ability to seek out and find joy in a dark and grim world. It was a kind of courage that would benefit us all and I wished more of us possessed that talent. I noted that the couple’s home looked almost completely different with new decorative style that seemed somehow more somber and deeper emotionally. Rhoswen explained that it had been inspired by Abigail Youngblood. She had been painting her portrait and she had been deeply touched by Abby’s strength and beauty in the face of so much tragedy. She brought us some coffee and lead us to Grizzly’s office.
His office was a study in contrast to the chaotic charm’s of the rest of the house. It was ordered and uncluttered with several custom-made computers and a couple of worktables where the young computer genius built his own equipment or worked on inventions. I gave Grizzly the disc from my car’s dashboard camera which had captured our battle with the Russians in the alley way. I hoped it would help us identify who the attackers were and wanted to send an edited version to the police that would not show Fergus or I in our supernatural states. I also requested a version to send to Callisto in hopes it would help mollify her anger at our intrusion onto Pack territory. Grizzly was able to finish editing the video in record time, sending anonymous copies through email to them both.
He was running the faces of the Russians pulled from it through facial recognition software connected to an FBI database. I was not sure if that was legal, and I decided it was safer not to ask. Grizzly identified the attackers as part of the Sokolov Bratva. The huge man that had thrown the grenade was ex-special forces having served a decade with the ruthless and deadly Spetsnaz. That certainly explained his prowess.
Fergus brought out Dušan’s sample case and phone and asked Grizzly if they might help. The big man rapidly broke the phone’s password and got into his call records and his accounts. Dušan had traveled from Dublin, Ireland on a freighter owned by Ark Transport Shipping Ltd. A Russian company that had made a lot of land purchases in Seattle in recent months. Especially in West Seattle. Dušan had signed for a shipping container for a professor at the University of Washington named Ronald Parker V but it had never arrived in Seattle. Grizzly searched his call list and found several calls to a variety of international numbers as well as a few to some used car lot in Ballard.
Fergus dug deeper into the sample case and held up part of an old rosary. He explained that it was part of an Orthodox rosary that had belonged to Dušan’s mother. He wasn’t that religious, but he always carried it on him. Fergus’s eyes lit up and he suggested we go see if Jack could do a tracking spell and locate the kidnapped man. Grizzly promised he would dig deeper and let us know if he found anything and we headed over to the wizard’s house.
Part 04: From the journal of Fergus Mac Cormaic
Griz had been a lot of help. But we still had no idea where Dušan was being held. The Sokolov Bratva had a terrible reputation of violence and barbaric torture. I just hoped my friend could hang on until we found him. We got to Jack’s place on Capitol Hill and when he answered the door he shushed us.
“Hey, guys. Abby is feeling pretty bad right now. I finally got her to sleep but we need to keep it down,” he whispered. He let us in after a moment of concentration. I could feel the intense power of the wards he had placed on his newly rebuilt home thrum against my skin as I crossed the threshold. I pity anyone or anything that tried to break into Jack’s house. He had nearly been murdered and his sister had been kidnapped from the house a few years ago and when he rebuilt the place, he had reinforced it with every ward and spell he could muster.
He led us through his living room, completely restored to the old Victorian style that he had inherited from his father, and tip toed past his wife, Abigail Youngblood. She had been battling cancer for years now and looked particularly pale and sickly. She was bundled up under a colorful quilt in an old easy chair with some uneaten soup cooling on the table next to her. Jack looked worried and haggard, and my heart went out to him. He always plays it cool, but I know he would do anything for his wife and missing child. In that we had a lot in common. Abby’s illness was tearing him apart and despite his great knowledge and power he was helpless to save her from it. It was only because she possessed one of the strongest wills I had ever encountered that she had lived far longer than any of her doctors had predicted. She really was an amazing woman. Gods. Get better Abby. We all need you.
We went down to Jack’s laboratory in the basement of the old home. It had been designed and tailor made as a place for him to research and do magic. There was an elaborate circle in the middle of the room of inlaid precious metals and marble for casting magic as well as several worktables and shelves full of strange and mysterious items. An elaborate sprinkler system had been installed that Jack had once told me would instantly ground out any magic or spirit that got out of control. The main wall was dominated by Jack’s research into ways to cure his wife’s cancer. Clippings and pages from old books were pinned up on an elaborate board with notations written throughout. Another board was dominated by Jack’s search for his missing little girl. Abby had been possessed by the demon, Azael for years and it had only let her go when its supernatural constitution had been overwhelmed by her cancer. When she came back to herself Abby had realized that she and Jack had had a baby girl just after she had been possessed. Unfortunately, she had no idea what had happened to the child. Man, those two have been through hell and back, literally.
Jack asked me what was going on and I told him everything. He listened patiently and whistled when I got to my recent encounter with The Pack.
“Damn, man,” he exclaimed, “You are fucking lucky Callisto didn’t rip your throat out with her teeth. She does not like it when people intrude on her territory and start a fight.”
“Um. Yeah. I, uh got that message from her loud and clear,” I replied. “She told me the only reason she didn’t kill us was because she knows we are friends.”
“You better make amends soon,” he replied. “She isn’t very forgiving, and she will hold a grudge unless she gets the proper respect. I think I can suggest just the thing for you to get her. It won’t be cheap but it should get you back on her good side. I will even give her a call and smooth things over with her. Set up a meeting. If anyone knows what the Sokolov bastards are up to it is her.”
“That would be great,” I said. “Thanks, Jack.”
“If she isn’t any help I would also suggest talking to Andrew Marshal. He is a tad…odd. But he is a good kid and he and his pigeons see everything that happens in this city.”
“Yeah. I know it is weird, but he has some kind of spiritual connection to all the birds in the city. Especially the pigeons. He was mentored by Craig Bigeagle who called his talent the “Urban Wing”," Jack explained. “You said you had something from this guy?”
“Right. Here it is,” I said giving the wizard the fragment of the rosary. Jack nodded and said that he should be able to use it to track down the rest of the rosary with his magic. He told us to clear away from the circle and he swept and mopped it thoroughly before sitting in the middle of it and meditating for a few minutes. His spirit cleansed Jack then got out a hand drawn map of the entire city of Seattle. It was quite detailed with all the buildings and streets meticulously rendered by hand. Jack tacked it to a board on the wall of the lab and gathered the rosary and an old antique, steel tipped dart with real feathers that had elaborate carvings on it. Jack put on a blindfold and chanted over the rosary for over an hour trying to focus. I suspect he was distracted by Abby’s condition right now and was having a hard time of it. He finally gathered himself and I felt a thrill as energy seemed to wash over me and he threw the dart at the elaborate map.
Part 05: From the journal of David Clay
Jack Youngbloods spell flowed over us both and it was quite effective. He had hit the map in the South Park neighborhood of West Seattle. He explained that he had met some kind of resistance and he could only narrow down the location to a few square blocks. He looked even more haggard and fatigued after his efforts on our behalf and we quickly made our goodbyes to him. He was calling Callisto to set up our meet as we walked out the door. We stopped at a nearby wine store and purchased a very expensive vintage from it at Jack’s suggestion. It seemed odd that a biker would be into expensive wines but perhaps I am stereotyping the young woman.
I drove us to The Pack’s headquarters in West Seattle in good time. There was little traffic as it was early evening. As we approached a strip club called Lynn’s Den both of us noted the extensive defenses The Pack had set up with snipers on the roofs of nearby buildings and several reinforced choke points where a skilled man with a gun could hold off a great many enemies almost indefinitely. There were also flashes of yellow, predatory eyes in the shadows of the alleys and I could sense we were being shadowed by werewolves who easily kept pace with my car. We were heading into the wolf’s den. I just hoped Jack Youngblood’s friendship with the pack’s leader was genuine. Otherwise, neither of us would leave with our lives.
We entered the seedy strip bar after being searched thoroughly by gruff but professional men with elaborate tattoos and a large assortment of firearms. Several Pack members were cleaning and repairing an arsenal of weapons and it was clear that they were preparing for a confrontation. There was a palpable tension that promised violence in the air. I can only speculate that their rivals, The Sokolovs, had earned their ire again.
Fergus grabbed a wine bottle opener from the bartender as we passed him on our way to the back office. There Callisto awaited us. I was impressed by the eclectic nature of the young woman’s office. She had clearly traveled the whole world over and gathered many curios and objects from far off lands. It was a study in contrast to the fierce biker we have encountered in the past. Fergus greeted her with great respect and made an offering of the wine. Her eyes lit up at the expensive vintage and she opened a drawer pulling out three glasses. Fergus opened the bottle and poured the red wine into them.
He allowed Callisto to pick which one she wanted and the three of us toasted before drinking the wine down. I do not have taste buds, but I assume that it tasted good based on Callisto look of rapture and Fergus’s of pleasant surprise. Formalities out of the way we were able to get the woman’s permission to go to South Park by swearing that we would owe her a favor each. Unfortunately, she did not have any other information for us on the whereabouts of the Sokolovs. We thanked her and left the building. We made our way to my trusty old Crown Victoria sedan only to discover that all the hubcaps had been stolen and someone had spray-painted a wolf’s head on the hood. I let the matter go and we got in the car to investigate our lead.