Campaign of the Month: February 2022
Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
Book 05: Chapter 03
Transcribed by: James
Date: August 25, 2019
In Game date: April 14, 2012
Part 01: David Clay
We had traced Fergus Mac Cormaic’s kidnapped friend, Dušan Branislav to South Park in West Seattle. I parked my car several blocks away from the devastated neighborhood that still suffered from the earthquakes, the resulting tusnami and the storms of Black Monday. Most of the buildings had been reduced to rubble and the streets were all but impassable. It had been six years since that tragic day and South Park, primarily a poor ethnic neighborhood, had never recovered. It had practically become a “No Man’s Land” and there were few who seemed interested in rebuilding it any time soon. Only the main drag of Cloverdale and the 14th Avenue corridor were remotely clear. I read over the information our friend, Grizzly from The Paranet had uncovered for us and I noticed that one of the properties that Ark Transport Shipping, Ltd. had purchased was a church in South Park. Given the ties we had discovered between that Russian shipping company and The Sokolov Bratva, who had kidnapped the young man, I had little doubt we would find something interesting there. In that I was not disappointed.
After we had pulled over we noticed a black SUV drive through the darkened landscape picking its way carefully through the devastation. Based on my best estimate it looked like it was headed directly toward the church in question. After some quick discussion Fergus used his Wylde Fae magic to create a veil making us all but invisible. Such a working over us both required his full concentration, so I lead the way while he closed his eyes with his hands on my shoulders, maintaining the illusion. I guided us carefully through the rubble to the site of the South Park Baptist Church. It was odd for the time of the year but I could not help but feel a chill in the air. The sky was dark and overcast with heavy clouds and there were no street lamps to light our way. A swift breeze was blowing through and I suspected we would have an early spring storm this evening. As I took a step forward I stepped on something that crunched quietly under my weight. I signaled to Fergus and picked up part of Dušan’s broken rosary. We were on the right track! The kidnapped man had certainly passed through here.
We were over a block away when we discovered that the church was lit up with some portable lights powered by a generator.The sturdy building was partly collapsed but the rubble had obviously been cleared from it. We made our way behind a partially crumpled wall that gave us a clear view while providing some concealment. We both saw four figures walking around the perimeter of the damaged building carrying what were clearly Skorpion submachineguns. Two other SUVs and an old Mercedes sedan were parked in a lot attached to the former Baptist Church. Fergus whispered that he recognized them as the men who had helped take Dušan earlier that day. Unfortunately, our vantage point was not good enough to see into the building although we could barely hear angry voices from inside. I looked around, hoping to find a better spot and noted a possibility. I pointed it out to Fergus and he declared that it didn’t look sturdy enough to hold his weight. I went up to a pillar and as quietly as possible wedged my body into it with enough strength that it should hold my friend. Fergus nodded and climbed right up. He peered into the hole in the church’s wall and, after a moment’s concentration, opened a passage to the Nevernever, vanishing from my sight.
Part 02: Fergus Mac Cormaic
I came out of the Nevernever on the lofted choir of the church overlooking the nave giving me perfect view of the meeting below. I almost wish I hadn’t bothered. Four men stood around a small work table arguing loudly with each other. I could identify most of them readily. I had encountered the one with the thick Irish brogue the day that Anna had almost been kidnapped by The Fomor. I had not seen him since and I wasn’t sure who or what he was. He was definitely more than human though. That third eye that opened on his head and blinded me when I tried to chase him was evidence of that. Hell, maybe none of these bastards were human. Especially the severe looking figure with cheekbones that could cut diamonds. I knew he was no man at all.
The Knife of Hunger, or Nôž Hladu in Czech, I had faced once before. He was a ghoul assassin of almost sublime skill with a legendary reputation as a killer and stalker of prey. When we had last fought he had gutted me like a fish and David was barely able to drive him away. I realized that the man he stood behind with obvious deference had to be The Patient One. A ritual cabbalist who was also a powerful wizard who somehow commanded the Knife’s absolute loyalty. He was rumored to have dealt with many demons over the years and yet somehow always come out on top. Seeing the two of them made my guts churn. I will never forget how the Knife tricked me and ripped open my belly with those wicked claws of his. But they weren’t the ones who terrified me.
The final figure was a very large man, 6’4" 250 lbs of muscle who appeared to be in his 50s. He had cold, arctic blue eyes that seemed to pierce whatever he stared at to the core, freezing it in place. His pale yellow hair was lifeless and spiky and his skin had an unhealthy hue as if he was very sick. Or even dead. His voice, with a thick Russian accent, was so cold that I felt a shiver go up my spine as I quietly moved closer to listen to their argument. I didn’t see my kidnapped friend in the area but maybe they would let slip where he was being held.
The Patient One, rather impatiently declared, “I cannot do The Ritual without the cargo, it simply won’t work!”
The Irishman turned to terrifying Russian and had the balls to say, “Damn yuir lad’s incompetence. How could dey let a feckin’ low life like Dušan double cross yah. It is nae acceptable!”
The big Russian clenched his teeth and the temperature in the room dropped twenty degrees at least. “He had help. Someone used some kind of glamour on my men. They swore they filled out the right paperwork and got the correct container but when they went to pick it up it was filled with some stupid knock-off Nike tennis shoes made in Serbia.”
“Where is Dušan now,” asked the Patient One with his cultured European accent.
“I am sending him to secure location,” the big Russian replied in his thick accent.“I find out who he work with,” he continued, menace dripping from his tone. “I be most persuasive.”
“You have done enough,” The Patient One declared loudly. “A firefight on Alki Beach? What were you thinking?”
“At least I am not reliving my youth as cowardly terrorist in NRA by bombing Radcliff’s properties,” the Russian countered. That got my attention. The Irishman was behind the recent bombings in Seattle of Peter Kirk Syndicate properties? That was ominous.
“It gets the job doon an’ redirects attention away from us to Radcliffe,” the terrorist replied hotly. “He ’as far outlived ’is usefulness. ’e knows too much. He cannae be allowed ta live.”
The Patient One ignored the Irishman, “You should turn the boy over to me. My Knife will make him talk. What do we know of his accomplices?”
“My men report a man of Clay. I believe you know him, Dah?”
The Patient One’s eyes lit up in avarice. “Oh, yes,” he answered. “I am quite familiar with him. I suspect the other man may be someone we have encountered in the past as well.” He looked over to the Knife pointedly and the ghoul smiled. Hungrily. I felt my guts turned to water and my skin was trying to crawl away with or without my skeleton if necessary. Gulp.
“Casimir, it is clear you are incapable of handling this mess..” The Patient one started.
“Enough!” the huge Russian all but screamed. “I track down the perpetrators and deal with them. You will get precious plant back Old Man!”
Silence reigned at the table as all of them glared at each other, trying to establish dominance.
“Den ’tis settled,” the Irishman said quietly. “Sokolov will handle getting t’e package back.”
“Our lives fer de Master!” he said with passion.
“Our lives for the Master!” they all joined in. Some more enthusiastically than others. Master? What master? Who could be master to this group of monsters? And Sokolov? As in the The Sokolov Bratva? I remember David saying that he had met Casimir Sokolov, the head of that family, a few years ago. But he had been crippled and frail. His power devoured by the Un-Man. Could this huge Russian be the same man? What was going on here?
The meeting adjourned and the Patient One and Knife of Hunger left the church quickly, got into the old Mercedes and left followed by the Irishman in one of the SUVs. Casimir Sokolov paced one of the aisles angrily and finally slammed his fist down on a church bench, shattering it into splinters. Bloody hell! How strong was this guy?
He barked something in Russian and the huge guy that had thrown the grenade at Alki during their getaway appeared at his side. He was clearly as scared of Casimir as I was. The pale monstrosity snapped out what was obviously a question and the big man hesitated for a fraction of a second before whispering a name.
Several of the men rushed off to the exterior of the church and they dragged in the guy who had started this whole shit show off when he had shoved me out of the way to get to my friend earlier today. He saw Casimir Sokolov and his eyes widened in absolute terror. He started shrieking in a high pitched voice, begging for mercy that was not going to come. Sokolov grabbed the hapless soldier by the throat and lifted him easily into the air with one arm. The temperature in the entire church dropped bellow freezing instantly coating almost all the surfaces with a thin slick of ice. Thin wisps of blue light began leeching from the man’s eyes and mouth into Sokolov’s mouth as his victim’s shrieks reached a painfully high pitch before being choked off abruptly. I couldn’t believe it. The man was frozen solid. Sokolov casually threw his now frozen corpse off to the side and it shattered into many pieces. Casimir barked an order and stalked out of the church. The big Russian looked relieved to see him go. I almost sympathized with him. Holy shit. What had I gotten myself into?
Part 03: David Clay
As a golem, I am capable of the full gamut of emotions. But fear is not one I have experienced very often. In fact I can only recall one occasion that I felt terror so intense that it drained my limbs of their strength and left me feeling weak with despair. It was at the hands of a creature who was in a wheelchair. A frail monster who possessed the power to inspire mind numbing, paralyzing fear in anyone. Even a construct made of clay.
When I heard the screeches from the interior of the church my first instinct was to barge in there and save my friend, Fergus. I started forward to do just that when I caught a glimpse of the impossible through a whole in the wall. Casimir Sokolov, that frail and depleted monster who once had inspired terror in me, was whole. He was no longer bound to a wheelchair. He was a solid mountain of a man who was at the peak of his power. He lifted the hapless criminal with one hand drain the life and heat out of him, gaining strength from the poor man’s demise. He tossed the frozen corpse aside and it shattered. He got in one of the SUVs and left, followed by his cowering men, leaving the church abandoned.
I managed to get the license numbers off of the SUV as it drove away and Fergus gave chase on foot. I left him to it. My form may possess greater than human strength and resilience but, unlike him, I am not very swift.
I went into the church and searched it for any clues that might lead us to the location of Dušan Branislav. I looked through the pockets of the slowly thawing remains and found a half a dozen receipts for the Chelan Cafe. A popular bar and grill near Harbor Island on the Seattle Waterfront. On one of the receipts there was the name Penny scrawled along with a phone number. It seemed we had a lead. Fergus came back breathing a little heavy just after my discovery saying that they had traveled North on 99 but that was all he knew. That seemed to corroborate my clue and we decided to go the Grill and see if we could learn anything.
Part 04: Fergus Mac Cormaic
David and I had followed our leads to the Chelan Cafe and managed to speak to Peggy. It was a bit difficult because she seemed like a nice woman and we didn’t have the heart to tell her that the young man she pined away for had been turned into a ice cube and shattered in an abandoned church by some monster from Russia. She explained that he worked at the Ark Transport Shipping, Ltd. warehouse on Harbor Island on the Seattle Waterfront. We thanked the young woman and I used my glamour to help us sneak past Harbor Security and make our way to the warehouse. A heavy wind began to blow and bluster and we could both tell it was going to rain soon.
When we got to the warehouse my blood was singing in my veins. I was excited and nervous about facing off against the Russians and was anxious to rescue my friend. David and I cased the large warehouse and recognized the SUVs from the church. This was the place all right. It was well patrolled by pairs of Russian thugs who were armed with submachineguns they seemed quite alert and competent with an almost military air about them. I remember reading how many members of the Russian mafia were former Spetsnaz. I can’t pretend to know much about armies but even I had heard that the Spetsnaz had a well deserved reputation for ruthlessness. If they hurt my friend there would be hell to pay.
After watching the patrols and cataloging their movements we quietly made plans and set up an ambush. I created a glamour of a drunk staggering and weaving his way through the large storage containers in the lot. The guards charged over to my illusory hobo just like we planned it. I was hiding on a large container and I used the power of my tattoos to manifest a whip and wrapped it around the one with the submachinegun’s neck. I lifted him from the ground as he panicked and dropped his gun, his hands flying to his throat.
I…I don’t know what happened. Why I jerked on the whip so hard. But the sound of his neck snapping will haunt me for a long time. The man went limp and the light ran out of his eyes and at first all I felt was the thrill of the hunt. The triumph of a predator over its chosen prey. But then the enormity of what I had just done hit me. I turned and puked over the side of the container.The other guard was just barely putting together what happened and turning his gun on me when David stepped out of the rain and knocked him out with a blow from his massive fists.
“What did you just do?!?!” he whispered fiercely under his breath. “Fergus Mac Cormaic if you do not control the Wylde within you, you will be nothing more than a beast,” he cried. “A danger to everyone around you. A danger to yourself!”
I hung my head in shame and struggled to control the riot of emotions that flashed through my mind. I was shaking with the effort and my throat was raw and dry from being sick. I felt a massive hand rest on my shoulder. David pulled me gently but forcibly around to face him. He looked me in the eye and said, “Get this under control. If you do not do so then you will become a monster.” he sighed sadly. “And if that happens I will do what I must.”
At first I was shocked and angered by his implied threat. But he was right wasn’t he? If I allowed the Wylde to control me I was a threat to everyone around me. Including Anna and Erin. God help me. If I ever hurt either of them I would die. I looked up into David’s fiercely glowing Golem eyes and I nodded once. David searched my expression for a moment and he nodded back to me. He let my shoulder go and I could feel his gaze on me as I gathered myself. I took deep breaths and exerted my will over my emotions.
We stalked the other guards and I used my glamours again to good effect. I created the illusion that I was the man I had just murdered. After all I wasn’t likely to forget his face. I am sure that it will haunt me for years. The other two guards came running brandishing their firearms when I called out to them with a seeming of the dead man’s face and clothes. I manifested my tattoos into a Shillelagh and bopped one guard over the head while David calmly knocked the other out with a punch. We gathered all of the guards and locked them in a storage container with their guns piled up by it outside. David said he would call the police anonymously later to tell them where they were.
We moved up to the warehouse and I noticed a window was open on the second story. David climbed up a forklift and gestured for me to come over to him. I put my foot in his massive hands and he boosted me up through the window with his improbable strength. Unfortunately, he threw me a bit too hard. I went flying through the window and, my arms flailing, sailed right by the second story catwalk. Twisting desperately I managed to snag the railing and land with a soft clank on the metal walkway. Right next to a guard. He looked at me his eyes wide, a cigarette falling out of his open mouth. I managed to recover and kicked him in the face knocking him out. But his damn phone fell out of his pocket to clatter on the warehouse floor. A guard on the warehouse floor came toward the shattered phone and picked it up, puzzled. I used a glamour to conceal both myself and the unconscious guard as he looked right through me. I looked around and spotted a total of 4 Russians on the warehouse floor and one more patrolling the catwalk opposite me. That was when the lights started flickering and I could hear a strangled scream coming from the warehouse office. I leaped into action and knocked out the other guard on the catwalk with a sleeper hold and made my way to the office. Gods. I hope we are in time to save Dušan!
Part 05: David Clay
Sometimes I don’t know my own strength. I had thrown Fergus a bit harder than I intended and I was worried that he may have been hurt. But, he was a capable young and I I had to trust him to take care of himself. I walked the perimeter of the warehouses corrugated walls trying to find another way in when the lights began to flicker. I heard a high pitched scream of agony and I knew that I had to act. I grabbed a cinder block in each of my hands and punched my way through the thin metal of the warehouse wall into an office. What I saw was an obscenity.
A man, Dušan I presumed, was in his underwear his arms chained above his head with his feet barely touching the floor and a hose dripping water down upon him. There was a man with a bloody apron holding electric leads to the man’s bare skin, electrocuting him. The huge Russian we had faced on Alki Beach was there and he reacted with admirable speed, drawing his submachinegun and firing an accurate burst right into my chest. The bullets were low caliber and they ricocheted from my chest doing no damage. I charged over to Dušan and broke the chains holding him and turned my body to protect him from the gunfire.
Casimir Sokolov strode toward me with a purpose and slugged me in the jaw. I have fought many creatures over the course of my life but I had never been hit with such power. He may look mostly human, despite his pale lifeless pallor, but Casimir was stronger than I was! I would have to be careful or I would not survive this encounter. To make matters worse four armed men charged into the room at the commotion and opened fire with a deadly fusillade of bullets. They did little to harm me but Dušan would have been killed if I hadn’t sheltered him with my body. Fergus made his presence felt in that moment.
He moved so swiftly that it was hard to follow the action, each move flowing into the next. He wielded a staff that he had manifested from his ever shifting tattoos with expert skill and power and took down all four gunmen. I was relieved to see that despite the situation Fergus was in control and had only knocked the men unconscious. They may have some broken bones and some bruises but they would live. That only left Casimir Sokolov and his huge lieutenant. The mobster charged Fergus and fired a long burst from his submachinegun but the young changeling ducked, feinted and did a back flip and somehow emerged unscathed. That was when I felt the a cold pierce me.
Casimir Sokolov gestured at me and tendrils of cold enveloped me. My whole world fell away as absolute terror rocked my soul. My limbs felt weak and a sense of hopelessness overwhelmed me. How could I possibly hope to survive against such power? I had to protect Fergus’s young friend. I scooped him into my arms and charged away through the hole in the wall. My only thought was to escape this monster and to preserve Dušan’s life.
Fergus continued his battle with the huge mobster who managed to close in on him, firing his weapon. Fergus was able to stay ahead of the gunfire and with a blur of movement attacked the Russian with a whip. But the large man was able to leap over the blow nimbly. Fergus possessed supernatural speed and strength but the big Russian countered those attributes with great skill and lethal violence. It was an even match.
As I fled the warehouse Casimir Sokolov cast his arm at me and daggers of lethal ice erupted from his fingertips. I barely got my arm up in time to ward off the lethal barrage. I ducked behind the forklift putting it between me and the monster who pursued me relentlessly. He kicked it. He kicked the forklift so hard that it flew at me like a rocket. I only just managed to leap out of its path. How strong was this creature?
As he stalked toward me the very air around me became cold and brittle. Sokolov began to look even more like a corpse, his skin white and mottled and his eyes glowed with an icy fire of hate. Desperate I grabbed another cinder block and tossed it at the creature and he raised his arms and took the blow. It slowed him down. But only a little.
Fergus’s struggle against the Russian lieutenant had continued with neither of them able to gain an advantage. But Sokolov’s demonic appearance clearly rattled the man. He took a long look at his boss in his fearsome mien and ran for his life. Fergus took advantage of the moment and charged bravely at Sokolov’s back brandishing a sword. The blade shattered on Casimir’s unholy body. I took advantage of the distraction, put down Dušan, and charged him with all my might. I was desperate. The monster turned on me and took my charge and didn’t budge an inch. This creature was beyond my strength.
Fergus came to my aid, creating a barrage of will-of-the-wisps that blinded the creature giving me an opening. As he reeled from the blast of light I punched him as hard as I was able to in the ribs caving several of them in with a crunch as he was slammed back into the warehouse wall. He wasn’t invulnerable! We had a chance. With a wild cry Fergus charged the stunned Russian and, manifesting a spear, leaped impossibly high into the air. He came down with the point of the spear impaling Sokolov in the chest. He looked like death itself now. As he exerted himself he became less and less human looking. He turned hungry eyes on Fergus and his warm body. Clearly he intended to feed on him and regain his strength. That I would not allow. I grabbed him before he could put his hands on my friend and I lifted him over my head. With all my might I slammed him into the ground with such force that the tarmac beneath him cratered as Sokolov’s body shattered. The stench of decay and death was overwhelming. But we had beaten Casimir Sokolov. He would never again murder an innocent and steal their body heat.