Book 08: Chapter 01

Flight of the Origami


GM: Brad
Transcribed by: James
Date: December 12, 2021
In Game date: August 2012
Episode: 40 (115)

Part 01: Fergus Mac Cormaic

DFA_ECR_Log_0801_01.pngThings were moving so fast that my head is spinning. After somehow surviving my wedding my beloved bride, Anna Maria Avila and I went on a beautiful honeymoon to a charming little resort on Orcus Island. I explained to Anna all about how, during the wedding, David, Jack, Virgil and I rescued my cousins, Nora and Fiona, who had been kidnapped by Máire. She was supposed to turn them over to their uncle, Lorcan Rourke who wanted to sacrifice them in some horrid ritual to his dark god, Balor. In exchange, Rourke, alongside The Fomor, was supposed to help her to steal the Mantle of the Guardian of the Seventh gate from me. This led us on a crazy visit to the Otherworldly Sea of Celtic Myth where we battled Fomor, encountered 30 foot tall acid drinking cattle and saw a 300 foot tall god stalking though the ocean.

The Dryad also secured the help of the infuriating Tad the Trickster who wreaked havoc among the wedding guests with his increasingly deadly pranks, and the truly terrifying Woman in White. Her psychic assaults were almost the death of us all. If Virgil’s magic absorbing abilities hadn’t nullified the Woman’s mind control, we all would have surely become appetizers for her horrific hunger for despair. As it was, the physical battle after we had escaped her mental domination had been brutal. The deadly fae had nearly bested David, me and Virgil combined. If Virgil hadn’t freed Jack, tipping the scales to our side, I am not sure we would have survived. As it was none of us emerged from the fight unscathed.

Three weeks of vacation with Anna was exactly what I needed to recover from the horrors of that struggle. Contributing to that recovery was Gemtriax Theophania, the matriarch of the Judd Creek Commune where Anna and I currently lived. Gem had been amazing, giving us a home when we got to Seattle. Judd Creek had become our new family. For our honeymoon recovery, Gem gave me some kind of special tea just before we left.

Gem told me to drink it before I go to bed and think about what I wanted most in life.

The tea…worked. I slept like the dead for a week straight like when you are in the hospital on really good medicinal drugs. I dreamed vivid dreams about a lot of things but I remembered dreaming about deep forest and mist-shrouded peaks, like the kind my Grandfather took me in the Nevernever all those years ago. I missed those places. Those memories. That peace.

Whatever psychic damage the Hag had done to me during the wedding, the honeymoon, the dreams, and my new bride managed to clear. A spa day where some bald guy gave us really good massage didn’t hurt either.

I came back to Vashon Island eager and ready for anything as love for my wife and daughter sang in my heart.

Gem was radiating pride when she gave me a dozen messages, all job offers, she had taken for me while we were on my honeymoon. Her excitement for me was infectious and the whole Commune was buzzing with it.

To my total shock, my dreams of releasing my own line of Parkour Clothing seemed to be coming true! It seems that word of mouth over the outfits I had crafted for Odianna of Winter and the Denarian, Tenebriel had spread. My designs were in demand!

I even had a letter of inquiry from the famous billionaire adventurer William West himself! I couldn’t believe it. All my hard work and sacrifices. All my dreams that I thought were doomed when I Granpa Manus died in my arms, passing the Guardian’s mantle on to me, were now within my grasp.

But I had to be careful. I didn’t want to let all this success go to my head. I did my due diligence with help from Anna and researched West through our network as much as I could before our meeting. At Anna’s insistence, I even called Emanuel Barardo, the venture capitalist who staked me on my clothing startup and who I had basically screwed when I moved to Seattle.

Barardo had nothing but good things to say about West although he explained he only knew of him by reputation and through some mutual investments. This was encouraging news. I guess. Emanuel wasn’t exactly what I would call an honest broker of the truth, but he was a shrewd and perceptive businessman. He was also the one who had introduced me to Anna. She had worked for him at his company, Bartech, as a forensic accountant. I hoped that I would be able to pay him everything I owed him soon. I felt pretty terrible about screwing him over when I moved to Seattle, but I had had no choice. It had been a matter of life or death.

In the end, I agreed to the meeting with West. How could I not?

Part 02: David Clay

DFA_ECR_Log_0801_02.pngIn the two months since Fergus’s wedding to Anna Maria Avila I had been extremely busy assisting with a variety of cases involving the nefarious billionaire, Trevor Radcliffe. The documentation that Fergus, Jack and Virgil had…acquired implicating Radcliffe in a conspiracy with a local street gang to attack Bruno Walsh’s construction company had proven to be devastating to his already tarnished image. The members of the gang had all pleaded guilty and Radcliff could be facing actual jail time for his role in the crime. He had fired several employees that were implied to be “inside men” for the crime and I had taken the Wrongful Termination Suit in those men’s names.

Fergus called me and it was good to hear the sheer exuberance in his voice. I had been worried about him after our encounter with the Woman in White. Her predations had left me unnerved. But Fergus had much more to lose, and she had done him great mental and physical harm. Apparently, his honeymoon had rejuvenated him. He explained that he was to meet with billionaire William West and was considering a business deal with him and wanted my legal assistance.

West, apparently deciding to ride on the coattails of the superhero craze that movies like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises had stirred up in the community, wanted to create a social outreach program with a superhero theme that he was calling Hometown Heroes. He wanted Fergus to design and manufacture a line of Superhero athletic wear that would be practical as well as a line of regular clothes for other supporters. The goal was to promote social justice, fitness, and community outreach with the slogan “Be the Hero your community needs right now”.

The athletic clothing line will be designed by Fergus and sold by West Industries through big outlet stores. Mr. West also wanted a dozen special outfits for his organization, Hometown Heroes. The 12 outfits are to be functional, practical Superhero outfits based on the concepts from a packet that West gave Fergus. Fergus has a license to contact the IP holders to discuss the designs, who are all local Comics Artists from the Seattle area. The suits will be worn by actors who will go through neighborhoods promoting the initiative.

In return for Fergus’s work, West is offering 7 figures and a new studio space for Fergus to keep and use to increase his headcount. I could tell that Fergus was quite delighted by the offer, but he did his due diligence and had me look over the paperwork before agreeing to anything. I examined the documents at length and found that they provided an honest and fair contract for Fergus’s work and even determined that we could use the money provided to open a shop in New York City to immediately pay off Fergus’s outstanding debt to Emanuel Barardo. The entire endeavor sounded very corporate, but with terms this fair, I couldn’t see enough risk for Fergus not to sign. Fergus had concerns though about William West and couldn’t figure out if West was genuine about his intentions.

At the end of July Fergus signed the contract with glee until he discovered that one of the Superhero personas, he was to design a costume for was none other than the Green Man. The urban myth that had sprung up around his own activities of the past year. At first, he seemed panicked about it, but I pointed out that this would allow him to control the narrative around the mythology and divert attention away from him being the Green Man. This idea excited him, and he agreed.

By the start of August, Fergus had thrown himself into his work in the desire to get the line up and running by the beginning of September as West requested. It was a delightful time for my friend, and I could not help but feel pride in his accomplishments.

Part 03: Jack Youngblood

I hate cops.

I know. Shocking. But I have some good reasons for my disdain. Too often they are just bullies with a badge who think they can do anything they want and get away with it. I suppose it makes me a bit of a hypocrite considering that I am a Warden of the White Council of Wizards.

Whatever. I am comfortable with that.

The only good cop I have ever known saved my sister’s life once. He actually gave a damn about his community and was willing to sacrifice his life to protect others. Roy Mullenix was a good man. So of course, he was driven off the Seattle police force and into some teaching job at the Police Academy last I heard. I also heard he had trouble at home and that after all that had happened, he had wanted to maintain distance from me for now.

Even before the uniformed officer showed up at my door demanding I come with him to the station I knew something was up. I had had a meeting with the billionaire, William West a couple of months ago at the Bad Ju Ju Lounge on Capitol Hill. I know that he was aware of the supernatural world and had even worked with my mentor, Zebidiah Einar in times past to combat some threats to the city.

But I was cautious. I don’t trust billionaires. Even when they are smiling and offering their money with both hands, I feel like they are playing a long con. Setting things up for their own benefit and the hell with the consequences.

West was looking for information on the Unseelie Accords. This raised some alarms with me, and I warned the man that the Accords were not meant for mortals and that whatever scheme he was hatching was doomed to fail. I told him that meddling with the supernatural world had led to some horrific things, including Black Monday. It was Trevor Radcliffe’s greed that had caused the release of Sawney Bean from the Cauldron of Murder bringing death and destruction to Seattle.

The billionaire assured me he was just curious, so I gave him the basics on the Accords and told him to call me before doing anything with the supernatural. He assured me he would and then, as I expected, he had ghosted me. In response, I had used my spiritual connections to the city to create a sort of spiritual network to keep an eye out for anything unusual. That web of spirits had informed me that something was up but try as I might to nail down what was tripping my alarms I couldn’t figure it out.

I had just gotten my wife, Abby back home from her latest round of chemo and settled down when the cops showed up. Abby was doing fairly well given the circumstances, but all of her hair had fallen out again and it was breaking my heart to see her so tired and frail. It didn’t make any fucking sense at all that she was dying of cancer. Wizards can live for as long as 400 or more years before succumbing to old age. They can heal from terrible injuries and are almost immune to diseases. So why was Abby dying of cancer? I suspect that Azael had done something to her while he possessed her body, but I hadn’t figured it out. Yet.

After making sure Abby was comfortable, I gave David Clay a call just in case I needed an attorney, but I only got his answering service. I was going to have to solo it. I gave Abby a quick kiss on the forehead and left Leif Wotensen to keep an eye on her.

I rode down to the police station in the back of the officer’s patrol car. He was polite enough, but I could tell he thought I was just another criminal scumbag who had leveraged his freedom by flipping on my partners in crime.

Whatever. Cops can hate me right back. I was comfortable with that too.

It was a fine day for the drive too. Despite it being August, it had been raining cats and dogs for over a week. My spirit net spell barely held together given the conditions, but was still reporting strange occurrences all over the city.

Detectives Volkov and Jordan, who I had dealt with in the past, greeted me at the station. I wasn’t surprised to see David Clay at the station too. Somehow the Golem always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. I asked him about it once and he simply replied that he was guided by his Faith in God. I could feel a slight hum of energy in the air when he spoke of it. It was subtle but I could tell that the influence behind it was deep. Powerful beyond my understanding. I would not question it. I was just grateful to have David with me, backing me up. However, I was a little unnerved that this meeting was important enough for an “all-knowing” entity to want His chosen vessel involved.

The two Detectives wasted little time and got down to business explaining that they needed my help to consult with the Seattle Police Department on “Special Investigations” in much the same way that Zebidiah Einar had done so for decades. It turns out Roy Mullenix had left a recommendation for me with the department which was a bit of a shock. After having David read over a contract and agreeing to a pay rate, I signed the document and became a Police Consultant.

One of the seven signs of the Apocalypse, I am sure.

The detectives lead me to an out-of-the-way basement room and showed me a map of Seattle with dozens of pins in it and asked me if I had change for a five. After an acerbic remark about not being a vending machine, I checked my wallet and realized I had no singles in it. Which was odd. I could have sworn I had a buck or two in there. David had the same realization.

Apparently, no one in the entirety of King County had any one-dollar bills. Well, not everyone. More like 75% of the one-dollar bills in regular circulation had gone missing over the past 5 days. They had been vanishing throughout the region as far out as Chehalis, both the town and the casino. The pins on the map represented locations where there had been confirmed reports of missing dollar bills. Places confirmed to have had missing bills included public places, retail stores, grocery chains, gas stations, food trucks. This must have been the unknown disturbance that my Spiritual Network had detected.

At first, I thought the case was ridiculous. Each instance of missing bills didn’t mean much on its own. Stealing a few dollars is third-degree theft, also known as petty theft, in the state of Washington was a misdemeanor. Petty theft was a crime I knew well and had been arrested for.

But, if this were the work of single person, the Case of the Missing One-Dollar Bills represented the biggest crime wave in Seattle history and constituted a major felony theft case. A case this big that could make a career just as easily destroy it if the cops couldn’t solve it quickly.

The detectives explained to me that they were desperate. Among the places that were missing bills included banks and law enforcement evidence lockups. If this continued, it could have untold effects on the local economy, which was still vulnerable even six years out from Black Monday. It would also draw the ire of the Governor’s office and would eventually draw the attention of the feds. The cops were so desperate, they even called Virgil to ask for a consult before they called me.

Virgil was out of town for the time being, tracking down Eric Laufey, so I couldn’t really follow up with him. Apparently, Virgil came up confused too. His only idea for how this crime wave could have been pulled off involved a hundred expert pickpockets working ten-hour shifts, but even he thought that was insane. The amount of work required to steal only small bills like this would cost more than the return.

Plus, the only stolen bills were one-dollar bills. Who does that?

The only things that stood out to me off the top of my head was that private residences that were not rent-controlled were mostly untouched, so there must be a threshold issue at play. Most supernatural things couldn’t get through a threshold, so it could be some kind of magic

I assured the Detectives I was going to investigate this directly and got the hell out of there. Place made my skin crawl.

Part 04: Fergus Mac Cormaic

DFA_ECR_Log_0801_04.png Jack had called me in to help out with his current case. Missing dollar bills throughout the region? It was a bizarre one, that is for sure. I had decided it would be good for me to take a break from my work for a day or two in the hopes that it would help me recharge my creative batteries. I didn’t want to burn out after all. Also, I was sick of having to have exact change when I went to the Snapdragon Café for a latte.

Sure enough, when I checked my wallet, I was also out of ones. It also explained the sudden appearance of “Card or exact change only” signs I had been seeing in every major business in town.

Jack had done some kind of ritual which took most of a day involving that amazing hand-drawn map of Seattle he had crafted with painstaking care. It was a massive undertaking, and the drawing included every single building in Seattle. Every tree. Every hill and park.

Jack told me how he created it once. He said that he communed with the local spirits in the city and would let them draw the map for him while he was in a sort of receptive trance. Essentially a light form of possession, I guess. Which seemed insane to me. But I guess I can’t argue with the results. Freaky or not, Jack got shit done.

He used the map, folded elaborately like some crazy combination of a paper map from AAA and a child’s folded paper fortune teller game, as well as some single dollar bills that David had secured in a trip out of town and brought back in a mystically warded box to prevent them from vanishing in a ritual. When he was done, I couldn’t see any difference. But Jack got all excited and handed David a Hello Kitty motorcycle helmet as he grabbed his biker jacket and his keys.

When I asked him what the hell was going on he handed me a single dollar bill with some crazy mystical crap drawn all over it. As soon as I touched it, I saw them. These beautiful little origami birds were flocking together and flying south and west. Jack clapped me on the shoulder and told me to follow those birds!

With a triumphant yelp of joy, I started running, jumping, and pushing myself to my limits. I let the Wyld course through my veins and felt elated! I ran up walls, jumped over roofs, scaled pipes, and gave chase to what I realized must have been dollar bills somehow animated with a strange magic and flying toward one direction. The bills came from all over Seattle. Jack’s magic lit them up with a violet glow that was beautiful and easy to follow. I would occasionally catch a glimpse of Jack driving his vintage Indian motorcycle with David crammed in the sidecar wearing the pink helmet as they struggled to keep up with me.

Suckers never had a chance! Gods! I felt so ALIVE!

I trailed the fluttering origami birds to a Vanguard storage unit in West Seattle, a poorer neighborhood that was still struggling to rebuild five years after Black Monday. Jack and David drove by the place, scoping it out covertly, and parked several blocks down the street to avoid detection. I watched them go and veiled myself and jumped over the fence in one leap. I followed the trail to a pair of buildings in the back of the facility. Both buildings had been cloaked by some kind of magic and I was determined to figure it out.

I heard a voice calling out and saw a bald Middle Eastern guy who must be working there.

He had apparently heard me come in but couldn’t see me through my concealing veil. I grabbed him in a sleeper hold from behind and interrogated him, but it was clear he didn’t know anything. Just a guy. I knocked him out and felt pretty bad about it. It was pouring down rain so I sheepishly put him in his nearby car so he wouldn’t get soaked or catch cold.

I examined the three cloaked buildings closer and broke the veil over them by stepping through it. Through Jack’s magic, I could see the origami dollars flutter toward the building and go under the door into the building. I could hear the shuffling of paper through the door and could imagine the bills stacking themselves neatly. I went back over the fence and rejoined Jack and David with my report.

Jack was a bit annoyed at me for giving away my presence by knocking the guard out. He explained that the spell that was animating the dollars was some kind of construct spell that was part of the most complex water magic he had ever seen. It mimicked intelligence and vibrated the dollars into a sort of supernatural frequency that was imperceptible to mortals. It would take a powerful magic to create such a spell.

The Fomor were masters of water magic but Jack said it wasn’t their working. It didn’t have the usual “oily, fishy” signature of their magic. He speculated that The Patient One, who was an expert with magical constructs, would be capable of it but it didn’t seem like something he would be involved in. He had never exhibited any interest in the material world.

It could also be accomplished by a powerful Fae but again the magic wasn’t the right signature for that. He hypothesized that a creature of legend such as a deity could accomplish it. But he wasn’t sure which one would do such a thing. Which left us with a very wide selection of suspects.

Jack decided to use his True Sight to try and learn more about the magics involved. He told me when opened his third eye and watched as one of the dollars David had secured was transformed into an unidentified specific species of bird and fluttered off to the storage units. In his Sight he saw a series of waterfalls that flowed in unnatural directions as if gravity had been flipped on its head and bent into unnatural shapes. There was a pair of eyeballs floating above the buildings observing them.

That probably means that they had seen me break the veil and KO the attendant. Oy. Jack was annoyed with me for being so rash, I could tell. He didn’t say anything, but his jaw muscle was twitching as he clenched his teeth. When someone got into a car and drove away from the facility, I volunteered to follow them while Jack and David kept their vigil at the storage place. I figured it would give Jack some time to cool off.

Part 05: David Clay

DFA_ECR_Log_0801_05.pngI stood vigil with Jack while Fergus followed up on the car that left the storage space. The Warden was particularly quiet and I wondered if the constant rains of the last couple of days had dampened his spirits. Or perhaps, more likely, he was still suffering the effects of being preyed upon by the Woman in White. I was concerned about his well-being but I was struggling to figure out how to help him.

My thoughts were interrupted by a fusillade of gunfire that echoed throughout the neighborhood at around 11pm. I was just about to suggest I go investigate it when I got a text from Detective Jordan asking if I was still available for public defender work. I assured him that I was and he explained that there were some clients who would need my services.

I left Jack to watch the storage facility and made my way to the crime scene. There were dozens of police and emergency vehicles on site. The West Enders, a new gang that had sprung up in the last few months had been hit and hit HARD. Over 23 were seriously wounded but to everyone’s surprise there were no deaths.

Detective Jordan met with me and took me to a young man who said he was willing to talk but only if he had a public defender present. The young man had several broken bones but was the only member of the West Enders who was actually conscious. The rest of the gang had been dealt with harshly. I guessed it was The Pack who took them down. They were extremely territorial and no one operated in West Seattle with them knowing about it.

I was mistaken, however. The witness, Greg Wilcox, begged me to represent him and said he was done with the whole thing. He wanted nothing ever again to do with gangs. I listened to the young man request immunity and demand protective custody from the freak who had beaten up the West Enders and several members of the ZBs (a gang of Neo-Nazi skinhead types) who they had been partying with. Apparently, they were celebrating a deal that had been struck over the meth trade in the area.

He said that they first realized something was up when none of the guards out front were responding to calls. A mysterious figure burst through the door and started to take down the gang one by one in hand-to-hand combat. Greg said he grabbed his assault rifle and he unloaded a full clip into the assailant, who was green, but the bullets just bounced off of him.

The mysterious figure grabbed one of his buddies and tossed him right through the outer wall of the house. Greg had reloaded but before he could fire again the man backhanded him through a window knocking him out. When he woke he found that the meth lab had been destroyed, the drug money burned and the chemicals used to make the meth destroyed. His AK-74’s barrel had been crushed with what looked like someone’s bare hands. The young man declared that he would testify about the gang’s meth trade and anything else the DA wanted. He just wanted out of the gang and off the streets. I made arrangements to represent him in court after he was jailed and processed and told Jordan that I agreed to take the case.

I had to wonder if some of the fervor about the Green Man that had grown in Seattle was due to the activities of this mysterious vigilante. He had apparently been involved in other incidents throughout the area. Perhaps Fergus had some competition to that particular title.

Part 06: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_0801_06.pngI was lucky. Both David and Fergus had returned from their errands before the Bentley showed up. Fergus reported that he had followed the car that had left the storage facility to the driver’s home and it was a false alarm. David was about to explain where he had been when the Bentley arrived at the front gate at around 2am. It had special UW license vanity plates that read “4L3AF”, an obvious reference to four-leaf clovers. That was intriguing, especially when I recognized his face. Stuart Godfried was the guy who had just won the latest Powerball lottery. His face was plastered over all the local stations lately, since it was a really big jackpot. The guy had taken his money in one lump sum too.

When the guy opened the storage unit, Fergus managed to get a look inside. There were neat stacks of cardboard boxes inside the unit. Each box we assumed held stacks of dollar bills. I couldn’t guess how many were there. It made me wonder how much money we talking. Ten million. A hundred?

Ferg followed the Bentley in fine Batman manner, running from rooftop to rooftop taking shortcuts, and keeping an eye on our quarry from above while David and I followed on my old Indian motorcycle. I used my magic to hone in on the one-dollar bills the target was transporting and was able to keep a respectable distance back, remaining unnoticed.

The target drove to Capitol Hill to a new McMansion just a few blocks from my own home. He entered his house carrying several boxes of the single bills and through an open window we spotted him put the boxes of bills in a closet with dozens of other boxes. The mansion was almost empty but must have had a badass stereo system because really shitty pop music started blaring out from the place shortly after our suspect arrived. Gods. I almost wanted to blast the guy just for that music rotation. No one should play Christina Aguilera that loud in my neighborhood. He was obviously a diabolical creature from another plane of existence.

I reached out with my senses and felt all the tell-tale signs of a ward on the home. It had many of the same characteristics of the veil that had protected the storage facility buildings. There was a blending compulsion placed on the house that seemed specifically tailored to ward against any detection from mortal authorities. It washed away interest in the subject, making it a boring, unintrusive part of the background. Even if we called the police on this place it was likely they wouldn’t be able to see past the compulsion and even notice the boxes of money existed.

It looked like we were going to have to handle this ourselves. Which suits me just fine.



Book 08: Chapter 01

Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem HumAnnoyd