Book 08: Chapter 03

Wishful Thinking


GM: Brad
Transcribed by: James
Date: January 23, 2022
In Game date: August 2012
Episode: 42 (117)

Part 01: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_0803_01.pngI was exhausted after battling the ‘Green Man’ vigilante who turned out to be a scrawny little sociopath by the name of Mathew Schumacher. He had thrown a little old lady out a window, claiming he could see the sins of her son and that she was somehow responsible for his crimes because she had been an encouraging and caring mother to him. Fergus Mac Cormaic had ripped the bastard’s mask off, robbing the little shit of all his mystic strength and prowess that the Djinni had granted him. Otherwise, who knows how that fight would have gone down in the end?

I had picked up a water bottle at the scene that sang with a potent magic that was so powerful that it made my teeth buzz. I knew immediately that it was the vessel of the Djinni that had granted Schumacher’s wish to be a superhero. I was too tired to deal with it right then, so I locked it up in my vault in my basement. It was probably the most heavily warded place in the city of Seattle.

I went back upstairs and kissed my wife, Abby, on the forehead as she slumbered. Her hair had all fallen out from the chemo, and I could see by her pallor and the slight sheen of sweat on her forehead that she was becoming weaker. I feared she didn’t have much time left. And there was nothing I could do about it. I made her as comfortable as possible and sat beside her bed holding her hand and drifted off to sleep as I so often do.

I dreamed. It was the same dream that I often had. But for some reason my dreams this night seemed much more vivid. More real.

I dreamed of the night I had snuck into my father’s heavily warded vault as a teenager with Abby at my side.

We were young. So damn young.

Children with little comprehension of the dangers of the mystical world and flushed with the rebellious arrogance of teenagers. I was hoping to impress Abby by showing her the artifacts my father had acquired over the last 70 years as Seattle’s Warden. I knew that there were some dangerous relics in that vault.

None more so than the tiny, tarnished silver coin that drew Abby’s eye. I used the mystical words I had stolen from my father’s diary to disarm the protective wards around the box that held that coin so she could get a closer look.

She had been smiling at me right up until her hand closed around the Denarian coin. I was contemplating her dazzling eyes, completely awed by her beauty and she returned my loving gaze. But then something happened. It was subtle at first. Slowly her features became cold.
A second set of eyes burned out of her skull with a sickly green flame as her smile distorted her features into something ugly. Something demonic. Her teeth erupted from her gums long and sharp like daggers.

I gagged on the putrid smell of burning meat and brimstone, recoiling in dread. Abby started to laugh at me. Mocking the dawning fear that stole the strength from my body, leaving me frozen in place.

To my horror I saw her body begin to decay rapidly. A corruption of rot seemed to blossom in her heart and began ravaging her form as the demon, Azael, continued to laugh, delighting in my terror.

I felt a resolve steel within me. For the first time, I realized that I had power that I could use against the demon, I could save Abby! I only had to choose to do so.

I gathered my will and plunged my hand deep into Abby’s heart and began tearing the rot out of her body. It was difficult, dangerous work as the demon resisted my efforts. I fought with all my might, all my heart and soul, ripping and tearing at the corruption with everything in my power as my vision faded to black…

I woke up on the floor in the living room downstairs. I was disoriented for a moment and realized that what woke me up was pounding on the front door. I ran over to the door and opened it up just as I noticed that I had blood splattered all over me. What?

“Jack, what the hell is going on” Leif Wotensen demanded. “I have been trying to get ahold of you all morning. Wait? Is that…blood?”

I held up my bloody hands and fear tore through my soul, nearly stopping my heart. “Abby!” I turned and started running up the stairs, taking them two and three at a time. Leif used the token I had given him to pass through the powerful wards I had placed on my house, and he followed close on my heels.

“Abby! Where are you!?!?!” I cried as I knocked the bedroom door open. Abby wasn’t in her bed. The sheets were rumpled and covered in blood. Grisly gobbets of putrid looking flesh were scattered on the floor staining the rug red. What had I done? My thoughts were frantic. Terrified.

“Jack?” Abby called, emerging from the bathroom. She looked puzzled, touching her beautiful hair in confusion. “What’s going on, Jack?”

I stopped in complete shock, staring at her full head of luxurious hair and fell to my knees. How could that grow back overnight? “Abby, I…I…how…?”

“I feel…fantastic!” she yelped. “The cancer is gone. I know it!” Abby did a pirouette with all the grace and beauty that had been stolen from her by her cancer, her face lit up with joy.

That is when I noticed the water bottle sitting on the nightstand next to her bed. A sharply dressed Middle Eastern man in a blue suit stepped forward and greeted me.

“H-how did you get out?” I stammered. “I put your vessel in my vault. My heavily warded vault. How the hell did you escape?”

“Oh, that?” he sniffed in a cultured, condescending voice. “Please. Your little wards are well executed, and I am sure you are enormously powerful, but such efforts are beneath me.”

“Leif,” I said. “Please take Abby to the hospital and check to see if the cancer really is gone. Run whatever tests you need.”

“Jack, what about you?” Abby asked, glaring at the Djinni. I could see the threat in her gaze. If anything happened to me then he would have to deal with her wrath. It was a look that could have stopped a charging troll in its tracks. The Djinni just smiled beatifically at her.

“I need to ask this fine gentleman some questions,” I said calmly. “Please, baby. I will be fine.”

Part 02: David Clay

DFA_ECR_Log_0803_02.png“…and then I asked him to get back into his bottle and he did. So, I brought him back to my vault and activated all the wards I have,” Jack said still in shock. His eyes red and puffy and face streaked with tears.

When Fergus, Adrian, and I had arrived at his house he had burst into tears, sobbing into Fergus’s embrace, as he explained that Abby had been cured of her cancer. I could not tell if they were tears of joy or of terror.

Or a combination of the two.

His fear that the Djinni’s gift was a cat’s paw was palpable. He was teetering on the ragged edge of pure joy and the dread that it was all a lie. That she wasn’t truly cured.

“I have to know. I have to know if this is just a sick joke that son of a bitch is playing on me, or if this is real,” Jack said. “I need all of your help to figure that out.”

“Please,” he said, completely vulnerable and terrified. “Please help me.”

We all assured the distraught Warden that we would aid him and his wife. We were friends. Allies. Even family. It goes without question we would help.

I had been handling Greg Wilcox’s case when I had gotten Jack’s frantic call. I had given my statement about the assault by Mathew Schumacher to the police and filed Mr. Wilcox’s plea deal, which included a stint in rehab, with the courts. I was free to provide what aid I could to Jack.

I went with Adrian Huggins to the main library at the University of Washington where he kept rare books on matters mystical. We gathered what materials he had and went back to Jack’s house.

“The Djinn healed Abby,” Adrian said with authority.

“How?” Jack demanded. “I never once wished for anything. How the hell could he do that?”

“You said you fell asleep next to Abby’s bed,” Adrian retorted. “I would imagine that you wish for her to be cured all the time in your dreams.”

“My gods,” Jack stammered. “I did have a dream. I dreamed of the day that Azael first took Abby.” Jack paused, the tragedy of that day playing out in his mind. I could see the guilt and fear of that moment in his eyes.

“But this time it was different, right?” Adrian asked.

“Yeah, it…was odd. After she picked up the coin a rot tore through her body. I suddenly realized that I had the power to eradicate the taint. In my dream I reached into her body and ri…” Jack paused and looked at the jar where we had gathered the bloody tumors that had been found on the floor of Abby’s bedroom. “I ripped the tumors right out of her.” He finished in a whisper.

“In a way that is exactly what you did. The Djinn have the ability to enter the dreams of mortals,” Adrian explained. “Your deep desire in your dream was all the permission he needed to act.”

“But how could he get past my wards?” Jack demanded.

“He probably just walked right through them. The Djinn operate on a scale that is beyond even the greatest wizards of history,” Adrian stated. “I doubt he was barely inconvenienced by your wards.”

“If he is truly that powerful,” I asked. “Then how are we to contain this creature?”

“The only way I can think of is to figure out the full terms of this contract,” the librarian announced. “Once we have a full understanding of the limitations with which he can operate, we can try to devise a way to control him.”

“Why don’t we just ask the Djinni,” Fergus asked. “Isn’t he obligated to answer the holder of the vessels’ questions?”

“That is actually a good idea,” Adrian said thoughtfully. “But we should prepare a list of questions to ask beforehand.”

“There are only three things I can think of that might actually allow us to rewrite the contract to something that is more favorable to us, but only one that we might be able to use,” Adrian said. “A Binder’s Ring would allow us to renegotiate the contract.”

“A Binder’s Ring?” I asked.

Adrian opened his notes and showed us a drawing of a Signet ring with a seal similar to the one on the Djinn’s bottle.

“Solomon used a Binder’s ring to bind his Djinn, Angels, Spirits and such…” Adrian said, “More than just an arcane focus, it’s an item of power. Serious magical work. Solomon’s original signet ring is in some God’s vault somewhere, but replicas and such were made that might be compatible with this.”

“How would we get one of those?”

“The only ones who might have one are the Seraphim,” he replied.

“Where the Nine Hells are we supposed to find an angel?” Jack asked incredulously.

“I can think of one who is here in Seattle,” Fergus said. “In fact, I made her a nice outfit.”

Tenebriel?!?!” Jack demanded. “Are you crazy?”

“Asking a Denarian demon for help is a sure way to damnation,” I said.

“No,” Jack said, looking pensive as he reconsidered the idea. “Fergus is right. We have to consider every option.”

“Then I suggest we only consider it as a last resort,” I said.

“Agreed,” Jack nodded. “What about figuring out the Djinni’s True Name? If we had that I could control him no matter how powerful he is.”

“Probably,” Adrian agreed. “But that knowledge was likely lost when the Library of Alexandria was burned. I doubt I will be able to dig it up.”

“Hmm. Worth a shot,” Jack said, picking up one of the books we had brought from the library. “Now let’s get to work and figure out this contract and what questions to ask our friend in the bottle.”

Part 03: Fergus Mac Cormaic

DFA_ECR_Log_0803_03.pngI wasn’t much for academics. So, I pitched in where I could. Mostly I made snacks for everyone while they dove headfirst into the dusty old tomes Adrian and David had brought back.

David seemed right at home with the ancient books with an innate understanding of the contract. He and Adrian bounced ideas and alternate translations off each other so rapidly that it was impossible for me or Jack to keep track of it all.

Jack dedicated himself to finding the cracks between clauses of the elaborate contract and making connections and tracing their overall implications in a practical sense. He set up an elaborate board with post it notes and colored strings to help him keep track of it all.

He fielded a call from Leif Wotensen who confirmed that Abby was cancer free, but he wanted to keep her under observation at the hospital for a few more days. Afterward he called the message service for the White Council of Wizards and left a message for his superior Carlos Ramirez. A “Code Fox” situation informs the Wardens that a powerful and dangerous mystical artifact has been identified in the region and the Wardens are to find the object, contain the damage and report it to the Council. After completing his duty and reporting the Djinni’s presence in Seattle Jack got back to work.

After finishing making lunch for everyone, I got a call from someone called Ashby from The Pack commissioning me to create some new body armor for them when in their wolf form. We made an agreement where if I provided the designs and made the armor my debt to The Pack would be considered paid in full.

After some negotiation, I agreed that if they reimbursed me for the materials I would make them the armor, which he accepted. He gave me the Pack’s direct number to help facilitate the deal.

After preparing ourselves as best we could we finally decided the only answers we were to get would be from the horse’s mouth himself. We went to the basement and Jack called for the Djinni to attend to us.

“Well, it is about time,” the Djinni said, appearing right behind Jack. Obviously, he was trying to startle Jack to gain the upper hand, but Jack didn’t give him that satisfaction. “All that reading and….,” he paused gesturing at Jack’s efforts with the threads and post-it notes while stifling a yawn. “…whatever this is, was dreadfully boring. Hi Fergus.”

He knew my name. Weird…

“You think a wizard’s work is boring?” Jack asked.

The Djinn glanced at him with a wry look, “I think being a member of The Wise, you believe yourself enlightened enough to not get fucked by a wish-granting. But even with this admittedly thorough analysis of the contract, you are most likely to only get fucked slightly less.”

“I apologize if you were not entertained,” Jack said sardonically. The Djinni smiled at him with half-lidded eyes and nodded, accepting Jack’s ‘apology’. He was an elegant man of Middle Eastern descent with a shaved head, wearing an expensively tailored blue suit.

“I am at your service, oh great and mighty wizard,” he said with sarcastic gravitas. “I will answer your questions.”

“Thank you, Djinn,” David broke in diplomatically, seeking to diffuse any friction between the wizard and the genie before it escalated. “We welcome your Wisdom and understanding.”

The Djinn bowed to David respectfully, mollified and the Golem returned the gesture. Jack nodded, giving David a look of thanks, and took a calming breath.

“No need to kiss my ass, but respect is appreciated.”

“I guess the first thing we would like to know is how you came to be cursed in the first place,” David asked, taking charge of the interrogation.

“Ah, yes,” the Djinni replied. “A sordid and tragic tale. As it turns out, God, His angels and other followers have no sense of humor.”

“Ain’t that the truth,” Jack muttered, and the Djinni and wizard shared a knowing look of solidarity on this issue.

The Djinn sat down in a chair and looked at us with what I could only read as a sense of pride.

“Sulaimon, the man you know as King Solomon, was building a Temple in Jerusalem.”

David perked up at that and weighed in, “The Temple of Solomon was built in 938 BCE.”

“That is correct, Golem. I offered my services to build the temple for him. It would have been a great honor to build such a place for one of Jehovah’s chosen kings. But…he had to go and ruin it. His people shooed me away with fire and stones and called me slurs the world has forgotten but roughly translates to ‘beast that devours children and makes love to goats’.”

I sensed something ominous, “What did you do?” I asked the Genie of the bottle.

The Djinn grinned and said, “Solomon’s followers awoke the morning of the sabbath with a five-hundred-foot phallic statue in the middle of the temple’s construction site. Quite faithfully rendered I might add…But the poor dears don’t work on the sabbath. They had to look at it for the entire day before they could take it down.”

The mental image hit me and immediately gave me both a headache and an understanding of why this guy had been bottled up for three thousand years.

“You offered to build the Temple of Solomon…” I asked, “And when your bid got rejected you…put a giant dick statue in the temple on a Sunday?”

The Djinn smiled slightly, “Not just any phallus.”

My face ended up in my hands.

Jack stood there dumbfounded and spoke in a flat voice, “The prankster in me is impressed, but the rest is horrified.”

The Djinn started drinking tea from a blue tea set with an intricate water motif. I have no idea where he got it.

“You had other questions?” The Djinn asked, “You wouldn’t bring a golem unless it was vital to your perceived safety.”

“How many labors can you do before you need a recharge?” David asked after consulting his notes.

“I am capable of laboring for two more masters before I must rest,” the Djinni answered.

“How long do you need to rest after you reach your limit?”

“It varies, depending on how much strain is put upon me by my efforts and the available water in the surrounding area,” the Djinni explained. “Anywhere from a year to a decade on average. The longest was about twenty years when I lay in Saddam’s Palace.”

The idea of Saddam Hussein having a genie was both horrifying and made a lot of sense to me.

David looked over his notes some more and moved to our strategy. We needed to find a way to corner the Djinn.

“What types of labors do you prefer?” David asked.

“I am a builder, an architect capable of great works,” the genie explained, passion in his voice. “I prefer to craft that which is not ephemeral. Money is transient, it changes with the seasons. I seek to build something that lasts. That has an impact on the world.”

“What isn’t ephemeral then?” I asked.

“I can’t make any suggestions. But I will say that true love and a lasting family are my rarest wishes. " The Djinn looked downward solemnly, “I cannot build love or make a true family but building something for one is always…satisfying.”

I thought about the Djinn then with a new pity. I imagined being locked in a bottle for countless ages. Trapped. Forced to make other people have what they think they want.

“What labors have you completed in Seattle since you awakened?” David asked, “Start with Stuart Godfried.”

“My first labor in Seattle was a tedious request by Stuart Godfried for a million dollars a day, for ten days,” the Djinni stated, bored. “So, I gathered a million one-dollar bills and set up the storage facility for him to collect them. I was disappointed he asked for money. I love his sculptures.”

“How many more days are left?” David inquired.

“He will get his last million after three more days,” the Djinni replied. “Godfried’s second wish was to be instantly rich with the money to be deposited into his account legally. So, I granted him a victory in the Powerball lottery. At that point, his fears that he would be arrested by the police had reached a fevered pitch, so he wished that he never be arrested. So, I crafted the wards that were placed on that sordid and vulgar ‘mansion’, which protected him from being noticed by any authorities.”

I looked at him, “He threw his sculpting tools out.”

“I have seen Stuart’s dreams.” The Djinn corrected, “Give him a few months or years. He’ll start sculpting again. Or he’ll have a psychotic episode…”

“Where did you go after that?” Daivd asked.

“My vessel ended up in the possession of Karen Garett,” he replied. “I used my talents to turn a truly not-very-ugly duckling into a magnificent swan. But she was not fully appreciative of my efforts and attempted to destroy my vessel, forcing me to act.”

“It is a pity,” he disclosed. “I rather liked that one. She had spirit. But I had no choice but to destroy her. Otherwise, the destruction of my vessel would have devastated the lives of countless innocents.”

“The lives of innocents matter to you?” I inquired skeptically.

“Not particularly,” the Djinni sniffed. “But my life hung in the balance as well. I am compelled to defend myself.”

“Certainly, that was the most important factor in your decision to act,” David said critically.

“Of course it was. Or has self-preservation become a crime in your eyes?”

“No,” the golem countered. “I just wanted to clarify your intentions in the matter.”

“After that I ended up in the hands of Mathew Schumacher and four of his friends,” the Djinni continued. "They passed me around their gaming table like I was a hookah. Lucky for me, they all wished for the same thing: to be superheroes. I had to make myself visible to get more information, but I was impressed by their vision. I like a challenge. "

“There are four more of those psycho-superheroes out there?!” Jack gasped, exasperated.

“Schumacher is the only one I would consider cogitatively impaired and the dumbest of them. The others were far less damaged and far smarter than he was, which is why they haven’t acted in such an aberrant manner. The rest of them seemed content to go to ground and bide their skill.”

“Is that all you gave them?”

“I granted several other minor requests for them as well. The wishes compared to the others were nothing special. Simple wishes to ensure they had comfortable lives and a socio-economic safety net. Loans paid off here. Season tickets for life there. One of them had enough vision to request a superhero lair, which at least required some skill to provide for them. In total, all but Matthew used their wishes already.”

“They asked for a lair?”

“With concept art. They were extremely specific, and I was appreciative of the level of detail they demanded. I added a few flourishes though, to ensure that it had all they would need to support their superhero personas as well as ensure the lair’s security.”

“What kind of support? Like weapons?”

“Their lair has the tools they require to maintain their masks and their suite of abilities. Anything beyond that is up to them to learn or figure out. Despite their imagination, I doubt they have enough knowledge to replicate my works in any way for some time.”

“And where are they now?”

“I know not,” he said. “I do not keep track of those who can no longer demand labor from me. Plus, they asked for a secret lair. I gave them the means of deciding their method of entry but know not what they decided as per their request. Matthew was the only one who told me his name. The others were smart enough to not say anything.”

“I have a question,” I said. “How did you come to Seattle in the first place?”

“Why, you brought me to this city, Fergus Mac Cormaic,” the Djinni said, smiling at my shock. “When I granted you your three wishes during your honeymoon.”

Part 04: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_0803_04.pngOh, man. Four more of those “superheroes” to deal with? We barely defeated one. What a nightma…. Wait!


What the fuck did he just say!?!?!

“What the fuck did you just say?!!?” Fergus gasped in terrified disbelief.

“Why I was just saying that I met you and your lovely wife on your honeymoon on Bainbridge Island,” the Djinni said calmly, clearly enjoying the moment.

“Wishes?” Fergus cried out frantically, “I didn’t make any wishes!”

“But of course you did my fine friend,” the Djinni said. “Or did you think that the meteoric rise of your business occurred without my considerable help?”

“Wh… What? No! I worked my ass off to get my business off the ground!”

“Yes. Yes, you did. And you are an exceptionally talented artisan. I savored your dreams of your future,” he answered. “But even the most talented artists need help to succeed in this day of monopoly and corporate market manipulation. Your dreams to succeed as a family were equally superlative.”

“My family!?!?” Fergus all but screamed, his face transformed by fear and rage. “What the fuck did you do to my family?”

“I simply granted your wish,” the Djinni stated calmly. “You wished that your baby would stop crying. Through my labors your child will grow up without abnormalities or defects.”

That stopped Fergus in his tracks. “Were there some defects?” he asked meekly.

“There were indeed,” the Djinni answered serenely, “But they would not have manifested until she was in her 60s. She will also no longer need to wear glasses to correct her vision.”


“You are welcome.”

“Um. Yeah. Thank you?” Fergus stammered. “But seriously you should realize that consent is important.”

“I had your consent,” he replied. “When you were on my massage table and at your most serene and relaxed, I surveyed your heart, cultivated your dreams and gave you your greatest desires.”

Fergus was stunned, “I remember you now…. You give really good massages…”

The Djinni bowed his head in acknowledgement.

“That was two,” I said.

“Excuse me?”

“That was two wishes,” I continued, “What was the third?”

“Of course,” he answered. “I created a beautiful demesne just for you and your family. I am sure you will find it to be to your liking.”

At that moment, our discussion was interrupted by the doorbell and a relentless pounding on my front door. “Djinni, please return to your bottle for now,” I requested respectfully. “We may wish to speak later.”

See. I can be diplomatic.

After a quick conference with David and Fergus I answered the door. The Patient One awaited me on the other side. “There is no time to explain,” he declared, “You must declare a Code Fox immediately to the Council. You must let me in immediately.”

“No, I will not let you in past my wards,” I responded formally, brooking no argument. “We can meet out back on the covered patio and discuss this.”

“Very well. Please lead the way.”

I walked calmly to the back patio as the unending rain came down relentlessly and I allowed the old man passage through the outer wards that protected my property. He was joined by the Golem we had chased last night. I was giving Fergus, who was under a veil, enough time to get into position to back me up if this was a deception.

“Welcome to my home,” I intoned properly as David appeared with a pitcher of fresh lemonade and a small tray of finger foods. “Please refresh yourself.”

The Patient One sighed… impatiently. By invoking the Laws of Hospitality, I was all but insuring that the old wizard behaved himself. The supernatural community set great store on forms of courtesy, etiquette, and the relationship of guest to host; proper forms are ignored at great risk.

“While I am here, I am bound by the traditions of an invited guest. Neither I, nor my golem, will offer harm to you or anyone you have accepted into your home, nor take any action which would be considered untoward for guests. We will report nothing of what we see and hear in this place and make every effort to aid and assist your household and other guests while I remain.”

Frankly, I was surprised that The Patient One had played along with such a sweeping declaration. By using the old forms there was little or no wiggle room for deception. It made me wonder what his angle was. I was glad Fergus was concealed under a veil to back me up.

“Now, please ask Mr. Mac Cormaic to come out of the shadows so we can speak openly about the Code Fox,” he said.

Well shit. I gestured and Fergus appeared out of thin air at the Patient One’s back. “There is nothing to fear, Mr. Mac Cormaic. I am not here to bring you harm.”

“Where is your pet ghoul?” Fergus demanded. “Hiding in shadows, ready to ambush us?”

“No, of course not,” The Patient one stated. “The Knife of Hunger and I have parted ways. His contract was bought out by another party.”

“Who does he work for now?” I demanded.

“I am not at liberty to say,” he explained. “That is unimportant anyway.”

“We have a Code Fox situation. An artifact capable of devastating this entire city has come to my attention. We must act immediately. I don’t know what it is exactly, but it is an item of considerable power. Other parties are seeking it as we speak.”

“I thank you for your concern, but I am aware of the situation,” I assured him, relieved he didn’t know that we were dealing with a Djinn. “We have the matter well in hand. I know how to perform my duties as Warden to this region.”

Fergus stepped forward and snarled, “Your call is important to us Old Man, but you are far down in the cue. Be Patient. I understand you are good at that.”

The Patient One was about to reply when we all heard the roar of motorcycles piercing the night, heading our way.

“I see,” he said, standing up looking slightly nervous. “It seems you have other guests to attend to.”

He gestured to his golem and the construct picked him up as if he weighed nothing. “I shall go.”

The golem took off into the rainy night away from the sound of oncoming bikes carrying the Patient One in his arms. He moved with impressive speed.

Great. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

Part 05: David Clay

DFA_ECR_Log_0803_05.pngThe roars of a small horde of motorcycles rattled the windows of the newly restored Victorian house. Jack ran from the back patio through the house, grabbing his wizard’s staff and Warden Sword and putting on his magically reinforced leather biker jacket. He muttered a series of arcane words, and I could feel the air ionize in the house as his full wards were activated with deadly intent. What we saw on the front lawn chilled us all as we stepped out onto the covered front porch.

The Pack had long been one of the premier supernatural powers in the region. The bikers had all been trained by their former leader, Dozer, an ex-Navy SEAL, and operated with military discipline and skill. That, combined with the ability of many of their members to take the form of massive wolves made them extremely dangerous in a fight.

“Shit,” Jack said quietly. “Did either of you do anything to piss of The Pack recently?” Fergus and I both shook our heads slightly in the negative.

“It looks like they are almost all wearing Prospect Patches,” Fergus pointed out, “Why would they only send prospects after us? Especially in the seat of power of a Warden of the White Council? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“Yeah. I don’t recognize any of them except for Ash.” Jack asked. “Where is Callisto? I know her. If The Pack were coming after me, she would do me the courtesy of leading the charge herself.”

“Perhaps they act without her consent,” I suggested. Jack was about to reply when Ash, the Pack’s enforcer made his demands.

“Jack Youngblood!” he called out in his thick Southern accent. “We know what ya got. Yah give it ta us, and all of y’all’s debts to da Pack are cleared!”

“First off, I don’t take kindly to threats on my property,” Jack answered defiantly and his staff began glowing with eldritch light. “Even from The Pack. You better get the fuck off my lawn or there will be Hell to pay!”

The prospects bristled at Jack’s challenge, pulling guns and knives holding their ground. Ash, a full member of the biker gang, stepped forward menacingly. I took off my coat and tie and folded them neatly before putting them on a chair. I calmly went down the steps to the front yard and stood before the belligerent werewolf.

“Ash, we have worked together as allies in the past,” I said attempting to diffuse the conflict. “Surely, we can work something out.”

“Last time Ah had dealings wit y’all Ah lost seven of my brothers,” Ash snarled. “Dere t’aint gonna be no bargains. Give us da goddamn bottle or we will rip y’all to shreds.”

“Does Callisto know what you are doing?” Fergus called out into the rainy night.

“She don’ need to know!” he all but screamed. “Ah am da enforcer for da Pack. Y’all owe us. Ah am heah to collect on dat debt!”

“That is what I figured,” Fergus said pulling out his cell phone and dialing The Pack’s direct number he had just gotten that afternoon. He ran back in the house to get away from Jack. When a wizard of the White Council started throwing magic around cell phones had a short life span in their presence.

Jack and I faced off against Ash and his bikers in the pouring rain. The prospects consisted of what looked like ex-military men, with their fatigues under their leather vests, tight haircuts, and professional calm in the face of impending violence. Jack and Ash glared at each other, carefully not looking each other in the eye to avoid a Soul Gaze. The tension between the two was electric as the standoff seemed to stretch on for forever.

“Hello?!?” I could hear Fergus yell into his phone just inside the front door of the house. All the magic in the air was obviously effecting the quality of the line. “I need to speak to Callisto. It is important! Tell her Jack asked me to speak to her.”

I know that Jack and the current leader of The Pack have a long history. I suspect they may have even dated at one point.

“Hey! Thanks for taking my call,” Fergus said loudly. “One question: did you put out a hit on Jack and send Ash to collect on it?”

He paused and I could almost hear the exasperated reply. “Well, there are a bunch of your prospects on Jack’s front lawn threatening to break into his home.”

“What the fuck is that idiot doing!?!!??” I could hear a woman’s voice scream. I heard the beep as Fergus hung up and joined Jack and I on the front lawn.

I made out a ringing cell phone a short moment afterward and Ash cursed as he held up his phone. He waved for his men to stand down as he answered the call and he turned away in an attempt for privacy. While we couldn’t hear what Callisto was saying to him, we could tell that she was yelling at him. He tried to make his case a couple of times but was shot down with increasing volume and anger. Finally, he seemed to deflate, and I had hopes that Fergus’s quick action had defused a fight.

That was when a dark, shadowy form stepped out of the night and brutally broke a prospect’s neck with a loud crack. A hideous abomination of a man revealed by light from Jack’s porch, smiled with deranged, murderous abandon, savoring the fear and shock of the Prospects as they took in his decaying form.

I recognized the creature, but I could not believe my senses. Barry Goldman had raised the corpse of his abusive father using necromancy and infused its spirit with unquenchable rage. Fergus and I had faced the revenant of Donald Goldman once before at the Ballard Nordic Museum last year. We had barely defeated the abomination in that fight, and I had ripped its putrid, decaying body in two. It was not possible that it stood here in front of me now. For a moment we were all frozen in time, then all hell broke loose.

The Prospects acted with admirable speed as the monster ripped at them with the deadly talons of its decayed hands. Panicked gunfire rang out into the night as veteran ex-soldiers screamed in terror at the sight of the revenant. Their weapons had no effect on the undead monstrosity, and it continued stalking toward them silently and relentlessly with that deranged smile beaming from his decayed face.

“Spiritus Agon!” Jack said and the deepest night was transformed into day as a powerful blast of laser light struck Goldman, staggering him. The atrocity shrugged off Jack’s magic, undeterred and continued to attack the Pack. Ash finished hand loading a revolver with strange ammunition that bore an elaborate cross on it. He fired the heavy pistol and it struck Goldman’s arm leaving a smoking, bubbling wound that slowed its attack slightly. Fergus leaped into action at that point and started taunting Goldman catching his attention.

The monster blurred into action ripping at Fergus with such speed that I feared even he could not avoid the assault. I was right. Fergus backpedaled, buying barely enough time to manifest a protective shield from his mystic tattoos. Green sparks flew as the shield held up to the assault, saving his life. Realizing that he was still in danger I bent down and picked up a large stone from Jack’s landscaping, readying myself to crush the monster’s skull.

“Everyone back off!” Jack screamed and then he rammed his wizard’s staff into the soil of the yard and began to stir it around. He released the magical energies he had gathered and the earth beneath Goldman’s feet turned to a sticky, cloying mud. The abomination sank into the mud up to his shoulders, trapped.

“I am going to show those damn Scotts how to play a little battle golf,” Fergus growled as his tattoos manifested a glowing, green shillelagh. “Fore!”, he yelled and then cracked Goldman’s skull with a powerful golf swing. The Prospects charged forward with a yell and started to club the monster hoping to end its existence.

Goldman exploded upward through the lawn in a shower of mud and dirt, bowling down most of the bikers. Before he could take advantage of their vulnerability I slammed the rock I had gathered into his torso shattering ribs. Jack strode forward again, the tip of his staff glowing like a small star as he gathered up all the magic he could muster.

SPRITUS AGON!” he screamed. The blast of light that erupted from his staff was as thick as small tree trunk and it slammed into the revenant’s body. For a moment we could all see a negative image of the creature’s entire skeleton before it exploded in a shower of putrid flesh and organs, splattering us all with gore. Surely that would be enough to truly destroy the monstrosity.

We all paused again in the night rain, panting from the fight.

“Fuck this!” one of the prospects yelled. “I was safer in Afghanistan!”

He turned and ran back to his bike followed by several of his fellows. As they revved up their bikes and drove away at full speed Ash began stripping out of his biker’s leathers.

“It ain’t ovah,” he said, sniffing the night air. “Ah smell ghouls. Lots of them.”

“In that case I propose a truce,” Jack said. “Swear you will do me and my friends no harm and I will invite you into my home under my protective wards.”

“Agreed,” Ash said, shaking Jack’s hand. Then his body blurred like a dream leaving a massive wolf in the place of the man. We all moved back to the house and took up positions on Jack’s front porch, ready for a fight.

“Jack Youngblood,” called out a hideous voice that I recognized immediately. “In the name of my employer, Trevor Radcliffe, you will turn over the Djinni’s bottle immediately or we shall destroy you!”

We were in serious trouble. The Knife of Hunger – or Nôž Hladu strode forward, leading a battered looking Vitaly Kulikova and his Kulikova Clan of ghouls.

“Well, damn,” Jack muttered. “This shit is getting better by the moment.”



Book 08: Chapter 03

Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem HumAnnoyd