Book 11: Chapter 01

An Unexpected Arrival

BOOK: 11
GM: Bradford(From Jeff’s Notes)
Transcribed by: Bradford
Date: March 12, 2023
In Game date: October 14, 2012
Episode: 56 (130)

Part 01: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_1101_0001.pngOur time in Stepford, WA is mostly a blur for me besides the big demon at the end. A consequence of being shot repeatedly by a bunch of zealots trying to turn my daughter into a vessel for a fallen angel. I do remember going head-to-head with the demon. I remember a few big explosions, and I remember feeling like I was in a warm bath.

The last thing I saw before I blacked out was my daughter being restrained in the back seat of a car with me. I knew we had won. But at what cost?

If it were just me, that would be a fair trade.

I woke up surrounded by family and friends waiting for me to wake up inside of a series of magic circles drawn into the floor to prevent my magic from breaking things.

Abby, my love, was sitting beside me. Leif shined a light in my eyes like he was supposed to and started his check-up.

I felt like hell, but I was alive.

I dared to sit up and was surprised to find I didn’t regret it. It didn’t hurt as much as I expected.

Leif checked me out and hit me on the knee with one of those hammers. He asked me who the president was and my own name. I think I answered correctly.

Eventually, I was visited by the last friend I wanted to see right now.

Warden Carlos Ramirez was the Regional Commander of the western US. He was a young Latino man wearing the grey cloak of a warden like he was born in it. Carlos had been rapidly promoted because of some adventure he had had in Chicago years ago and had been instrumental in holding the line against the Red Court during the war and against the Fomor more recently.

As regional commander, he was also my boss. I sat up enough to look at him and braced for verbal flogging.

“I’m sorry, sir. I had no choice…” I started. I tried to do a variation on my usual story.

Instead, Carlos said something I didn’t expect.

“Good work, Jack.” Carlos said.

I blinked in confusion.


“I said good work, Warden Youngblood. You should be proud of yourself.”

I rubbed my head in confusion.

“I haven’t filed my Warden’s report yet.”

“No need. While you were in the coma, The Patient One filed one on your behalf. ”

“The Patient One did what now?”

Carlos rolled his eyes, “As the most senior Wizard in the region, The Patient One independently gathered detailed information on what happened and filed a report with the White Council. Everyone knows about that crazy compound, the zealots, and your rescue mission. We’ve been talking about it for weeks now.”

I felt my heart stop, and my blood run backwards at the implications.

“The Patient One did me a solid?”

“Yeah.” Carlos said, “If someone three hundred years younger and less respected had filed it, I would have been here to collect your cloak, stole, and sword for the shit you pulled.”

I didn’t trust The Patient One. I knew he was up to something and had his fingers in every dark magic pie in Seattle. But…what he did had just saved my bacon. As a Wizard with centuries of experience, The Patient One’s report was beyond reproach for all but the Senior Council. Even then, it would take a lot to stand against it.

“I just got one question.” Warden Ramirez said in a serious voice.

“Yes, sir?”

“Did you really go toe to toe with a freakin’ demon? Were you on something?”

I told my side of the story but generally went along with the report. It was unbelievably detailed. Either The Patient One had grilled some of my friends really hard, had had one of his golems follow us, or both. Regardless, I didn’t want to stay indebted to someone like that.

But first, I had a headache to get rid of.

I had a bunch of visitors who had come long way to see me personally. My half-brother, Charlie Kress arrived with my sister Caroline to meet their newly discovered niece. Caroline, it turned out, had come all the way from Edinburgh, pushing Zeb Einar in his wheelchair.

I hadn’t seen the old Warden in ages and relished getting chewed out by him again.

Members of the local Paranet showed up too. Everyone pitched in to make sure bills were paid and that I was getting the best care possible. Some of my fellow Wardens, including one of the few with actual healing talent showed up to help me recharge my magical batteries.

My daughter came to see me every day, too. She hugged me. It made the pain all worth it.

One day, Virgil showed up in a hospital gown with a bandaged shoulder that looked like it was a size too big. He sat down next to me and shared a drink with me.

“What happened to you?” I asked.

“Blew the shit out of the Blackthorn tree.” He replied.

“Do tell.”

Virgil and several others had been sent on a mission to rescue Eric Laufey. In the process, they discovered more of those damn mold zombies and saved the day with some magic and some thermite among other things.

Virgil also told me about Fergus. He left a note with his wife and went on walkabout or something. No telling when he would come back.

“You sure he’ll come back?”

“He’ll come back, or I will find his ass and drag it back here,” Virgil said.

“So, you took some shrapnel from…the world tree?” I asked, “Are you sure it isn’t… black thorny?”

“Wrong color for that. The blackthorn went up like tinder. They had opened the bark up to get at the roots, so that was probably it.”

I thought about the implications. Yggdrasil. The tree connecting the Nine Realms. An organism with an absolutely cosmic scale.

And Virgil, a Kleptomancer, took a three-foot chunk of it in his shoulder and back.

“Any side effects?”

“I feel perpetually funky.” Virgil said, “But I also feel a bit energized.”

“You go see Leif?”

“He got out as much as he dared with the tools he had. Even if Aunt B’s clinic was intact, he didn’t have the tools to get it all out. Even though I am healing very well, he advised the Conclave that I needed surgery. So they ponied up.”

“Is that why you’re here? The gown and everything?”

“I figured I would swing by…My surgery got cancelled. The surgeon didn’t show up. Need to reschedule.”

“Damn.” I said, “You hang in there.”

“You too.” he said and gave me a fist bump.

Virgil had to go back to the hospital to get his shoulder looked at again, but he missed his second attempt at surgery because of traffic.

After about a week, I was finally able to go home. I was greeted by Kerouac, who was waiting in front of my front door.

“You been waiting long?” I asked.

“I am under orders, Wizard.” The Pooka said, “My regent has assigned me to care for you, and your child."

“I don’t trust a trickster with my kid,” I said.

“Kitty!” Lilith said and ran to Kerouac.

“Don’t do that…” I said as Lilith scratched the cat behind the ears.

“Yes, right there.” The cat said.

“Which court of faerie are you?” Lilith asked, completely ignoring the fact she was talking to a cat.

“I represent the Court of Summer.” Kerouac said, “Your child is sharp…to the left, please.”

After it was clear that I couldn’t get rid of him, we negotiated an arrangement. I made him promise three times every sentence so that he couldn’t get out of it.

“I solemnly swear I will protect your child with my life and keep a watchful eye upon her. I will always know her whereabouts unless you or your wife give me leave.”

As a faerie, I knew he was true to his word.

In exchange, he demanded high-quality cat food, scratches from time to time if his work was satisfactory, and…a pizza.

“Why pizza?” I asked.

“I have obligations with a local clan of little folk.” Kerouac said, “They require a pizza a week to keep their favorite shop open. With the shop open, they are valuable eyes and ears that can go unnoticed.”

I hand-delivered the pizza the first time but set it up for regular delivery after that.

“Thank you, my lord Youngblood.” A high-pitched knight-looking sprite said on the back of a dragonfly, “This is good tidings from the Dread Beast Kerouac’s minions.”

“I am not that cat’s minion!” I proclaimed, “I am a Warden of the White Council!”

“We would expect no less from the Dread Beast! Very good, my lord Youngblood.”


I spent the next few weeks with my newly returned family. Rest and recuperation I desperately needed.

But it coincided with the beginning of October. The spooky season before Halloween, when the Nevernever is closest to the mortal world. October is when hauntings are up. When more supernatural folks crossover and things tend to go wrong.

Then, in the second week of October, the really weird shit started. It started with the third great natural disaster of the past decade.

The Great Seattle Earthquake, also known as Black Monday, wrecked Seattle a couple of years ago, and the whole area was still rebuilding. The quake was the fallout of a dark magic ritual that hadn’t been stopped in time. It killed many and destroyed a few bridges that still hadn’t been rebuilt.

The earthquake was succeeded by the Great Seattle Flood a few months ago, a disaster courtesy of a genie with the sloppiest spellcasting I have ever seen. Because of a carefully worded wish, the flood itself did not cause any direct or indirect loss of life. Only massive amounts of property damage and a few power outages.

Metaphysically, these two events combined to wreak hell on the supernatural side. The Ways into and out of Seattle were changing and had become unpredictable in places. On top of that, several ley lines had been redirected. It played hell with a lot of things.

But then, we were hit with something no one expected.

In three days, five consecutive multicar pileups occurred on various interstate highways and key downtown streets. Among the pileups was a multi-car collision between several emergency vehicles that had inadvertently crossed paths to the same accident scene.

The resulting blob of cars blocked everything from moving in any direction for days, slowing everything in Seattle to a standstill. People abandoned their cars rather than wait for the traffic to clear. Every major street now had vehicles parked on the sidewalk or streaks of wheels peeling out.

The news called it the Great Seattle Traffic Jam….

Part 02: David Clay

DFA_ECR_Log_1102_002.pngFor me, it was another day at the courthouse. For everyone else, it was a queue of a lifetime.

The repeated traffic collisions all around the city had forced me to focus my legal practice on taking some mundane cases. Most of them were traffic court cases and the like. Entirely routine affairs that took less than a half-hour each. The sheer volume was a boon to my legal profession but was disconcerting. Suspiciously so.

One of the other parts of the city thrown off at the start of October was the courts. Every court’s docket for the month had to be rescheduled for one reason or another, and it became impossible to get a concrete court date. Judges would miss their court dates as often as the defendants seemed to show up late or not at all.

This was complemented by a growing series of process errors and at least one system crash of the Seattle Municipal Court computer systems.

Worse was that there seemed to be no concrete obvious reason for it. Perhaps it was just a series of bad weeks.

As a result, I stood in line at 4:23pm to get a court filing to the clerk before the office closed at 4:30. The line was the longest I had ever seen. As a golem, I did not feel impatience like humans did. This was my purpose, so I would wait as long as I dared.

It was only when a few of those in front of me gave up on waiting that I could see the problem. The clerk had been out to her fifteen-minute coffee break for forty-five minutes.

On my way in, I saw others going for coffee only to see lines longer than usual and running slower than usual.

With this in mind, I suspected what might be amiss, so I turned to one of the others in line.

“Could you hold my place in line?” I asked, “I would like to find out what is keeping the clerk.”

“Sure.” The man I asked said.

My statement gained applause from the others in line as I walked towards the courtroom bailiff on watch.

“I will lock the door at 4:30” The Baliff said, “Court rules.”

“I am just going to find the clerk.” I said and walked past.

I moved swiftly to the end of the hall and looked out the window towards the Starbucks across the street.

The Clerk was on the other side of the street, running back towards the courthouse. I ran to the elevator and missed its closing doors, so I went down the stairs.

When I got to the front, I found the clerk walking up, struggling to make it to the elevator.

I saw that the elevator opened and let its passengers out, so I blocked the door and hit a button. As that elevator was a familiar one, I blocked the door from closing, knowing it would take a minute before closing again.

I ran to the clerk and offered to help her. When she accepted, I picked her up and ran to the elevator…which closed seconds before I got there.

That was strange.

I ran the clerk up the stairs and through the door just before the bailiff locked it. I delivered her to her station, and she sighed as she opened up her desk for business again.

“Thank you Mister Clay,” The Clerk said, “and I am so sorry to all of you. Everything has been running late today. I will make sure everyone here gets their filings done before…”

The Clerk checked her watch and smashed her face into the desk in frustration. I wasn’t sure what she was frustrated about, but I was guessing she was also late for something.

All of Seattle seemed to be running late.

I could tell this was not natural because if I had not rushed the Clerk through those doors, a Golem whose purpose was to protect the innocent using the law would have been late with a court filing. A Golem Lawyer is never late with a court filing.

Part 03: Hiroko Noshimuri

DFA_ECR_Log_1102_003.pngWhen we came back from Jotunheim, the Yakuza continued to infiltrate Seattle’s underworld. That meant I had to lay low, so I spent my time training with Toshiro-Sensei and got into the groove of my new gigs.

I found a place in the International District teaching various classes at the community center. Japanese, Kendo, legal primers for citizens, the works.

When the Traffic Jam began, I lucked out since my work was in walking distance of my apartment. I managed always to show up really early to class while many of my students were either various kinds of late or early. No one showed up when they were supposed to. It was eerie.

I had seen more bikers rolling around town and more than a few signs that the Jade Court was trying to move into places left behind by the Reds even more than they already had.

I could only imagine an unseen version of the Godfather with fangs taking place behind the scenes. Thankfully, it hadn’t led to violence yet.

The Bikers were taking full advantage of their mobility and experience with splitting lanes during the Traffic Jam. As cars were at a standstill, the bikes would just cruise past them, laughing and breaking windows with chains and aluminum bats.

After one of my morning classes, I decided to look around with my Shen Sight. Maybe I could make something out of this.

What I got was a series of afterimages of the area. It didn’t make my sight unusable, just damned odd.

With this amount of weird shit going on, I decided I needed answers. Time to ask some locals.

Hyung-Su Kim (or just Kim as everyone calls him) was a Changling and one of the “Saints” of Seattle, one of the various supernatural beings of modest power that had solidified power in Seattle’s International District.

On their own, the Saints were not a very powerful supernatural force. Any supernatural nation with any desire could wipe them off the map within a day if they wanted to. But in the context of the city, the Saints were strong dealers in information and various pathways to unusual power.

Kim was a Dokkaebi, a faerie that changed itself into inanimate objects. For me, Kim was the Korean noodle guy.

Kim’s Noodle Shop was a staple of the community for a long time. Long known as the best noodles in town, and from the few times I have been there, the people were right.

I found Kim behind the counter in his regularly working joe outfit. He looked to me and smiled.

“Hiroko!” Kim said, “Finding your place here, I see.”

“I guess so.” I replied.

“My customers have nothing but good things to say about your classes. Very instructive. Can I get you your usual?”

I leaned over the bar seriously.

“Can you tell me anything about what the hell is going on in town?” I asked, “Is there some kind of faerie festival or something? Is some playing pranks on everyone in town?”

I got my answer in the form of Kim saying, “No. Nothing like that I’m afraid.” and his body language telling me he knew more.

I couldn’t tell what he and his clan knew, but they knew something. And they were scared. Whatever was doing this was faerie related, but it was definitely bigger than Kim.

I got my order to-go and headed to the one person I knew might have more answers: The friendly neighborhood wizard.

Part 04: Orenda Peshlakai

DFA_ECR_Log_1102_004.pngSunday meant two things that go together so well they both push humanity forward as a species, and may end up killing us all: Beer and Football.

The Pack had many business interests around town besides their main clubhouse that were above my pay grade. I knew they had a stripclub, but that was not a place for someone like me. I needed money for rent, so I decided to do some time as a bouncer at one of the Pack’s Sports Bars.

The Dawg House was a sports bar with the biggest TVs and sound systems in town, with plenty of seating, a great selection of local microbrews, and full support for local teams. Squeaky clean. Perfect for laundering money. But also good for a drink, ribs, and chicken fingers. Although the Pack started their Sports Bars as ways to launder money, the Dawg House didn’t need to. It was that good a place.

My time as a bouncer was required because the Great Seattle Traffic jam had fucked up not one but two home games for local teams.

The Seattle Seahawks were facing off against the New England Patriots, and the atmosphere was palpable. Lots of money was on the line for a lot of people, and fans were everywhere.

The bar was packed with fans of both teams. Families of them. Some of them were here because traffic prevented them from getting to the actual stadium, and some had missed the window for tickets by a hot minute.

There were guys in body paint. Families decked out in jerseys and T-Shirts. There was even one guy dressed as what I think was supposed to be his interpretation of “Flying Elvis” the Patriot’s mascot. It looked more like if George Washington was wearing an Elvis wig but whatever.

More than a few times, I had to keep him away from another fan who had dressed himself in a homemade Seahawk mascot outfit made of…I don’t know what.

As a real shapeshifter, I found it hilarious because I could turn into an actual bird.

Normally, that would be a good night as a bouncer. Rowdy but manageable.

But, at the exact same time, there was another game going on.

The USC game against the Huskies had been delayed a day for rain. The exact same bullshit was happening with that.

That meant the Dawg House was also full of college students in all manner of body paint, memorabilia, and at least one guy who had made his own Husky Mascot outfit.

But, the trouble didn’t start until the games started. Or rather…not. The damn live feed got delayed for some stupid fucking reason. I wasn’t sure how long the lagtime was, at least a quarter. It was enough to make drunk people impatient and angry.

Our kitchen struggled to keep up with demand, and our pouring system took its sweet time, so I had to eject a few people by hand for trying to get a drink without paying before the customers just started buying by the bottle so they didn’t have to wait.

One of the Pack’s Prospects came in to check on the club as I threw another drunk out. I wanted to show I was doing my job, so I held the door open for some guy looking down on his phone.

Prospect, who was in a biker cut with jeans and white sneakers like all the newer Pack members, limped in and asked for a drink. I handed him water so he could talk. The Prospect was one of two dozen the Pack had been recruiting recently. Many of them were Marines and Army guys back from the Gulf from too many tours, and I knew over half of them would washout because they weren’t badass enough or because they lost their shit when they learned about magic.

“How are things in here?” The Prospect asked. I didn’t know if he served, but if he did he was probably a private.

“Hopefully, better than out there.” I replied, “That lag is killing us, but business is booming.”

The Prospect drank his water and belched up an update, “Every Sportsbar in town is like this today. This Traffic Jam is fucking everyone.”

The TVs continued to play the same kinds of announcements.

“Unprecedented excitement as the last quarter begins!” The TV said, gaining cheers and hollers from the assembled fans.

The Prospect then said the worst thing he could have said in that moment.

“At least it can’t get any worse.”

I stared into his soul as the guy with the phone I let in made it to the middle of the bar and started cheering while everyone else was watching plays.

I didn’t quite hear the exact words, but I generally knew what he said because everyone in the room heard it.

“Yes! USC Wins! Suck it, Husky losers! At least the Seahawks finally won something. Bunch of bums!”[Note to James. Replace with what happened in those games]

The exclamation drew the eyes of everyone in the room. As an apex predator, I didn’t need to smell blood in the air. I knew a prey animal when it was about to get torn apart by competing forces.

Someone painted in Sqawk colors broke a bottle over the bar, its end now a jagged edge, just as Patriot Elvis at the pool table broke a pool cue in half and calmly handed the other half to Harry the Husky whose costume head somehow stared at phone-guy like he somehow couldn’t believe he had said what he just said. Whomever coined the phrase, “the silence was deafening” had probably been in a similar situation. Most likely while at war.

Then the Dawg House exploded into violence.

Part 05: Jack Youngblood

Despite the Great Seattle Traffic Jam slowing everything to a crawl, we decided to make the most of it by going to the store and out to the park for a picnic. My Indian Motorcycle was able to navigate the slowed traffic easily. Anna and Lilith road in the sidecar with the new helmets graciously donated by the Paranet.

Although we hit every red light along the way, I relished every second I spent with my girls. The red lights gave us more time. We got to the park just as it started to rain, but we put up an umbrella and made do. When we couldn’t take the rain, we went to a nearby arcade and then headed back home.

On my way back, I decided that this Traffic Jam’s weirdness was too much, so I swung by some haunts. October was the time for hauntings, and as someone who can talk to actual spirits, it was the busiest time of year when I was not laid up.

I asked all of my usual spiritual acquaintances what they thought about the proceedings. Most of them just laughed at the mortals like they were watching Jackass or something.

“Would you stop laughing?” I asked the postal worker ghost riding his bike.

“Sorry.” He said, “I can’t help it. This is all too funny.”

“Are spirits doing this?” I asked.

He threw a spectral paper on his old route and slowed to keep pace with me, “Not that I’ve heard. This is entirely the problem of the living.“

“Keep an ear out for anything about what this might be about, okay?”

“Sure thing, boss.” The ghost said and continued on his route.

“Who was that, Daddy?” Lilith asked. I wasn’t sure if it was an innocent question or if she was testing boundaries. Lilith had been going through some deprogramming, but I couldn’t fully trust she wouldn’t run away at the first opportunity. I also wasn’t sure if she could.

I decided to be a good dad.

“That’s a mailman. There are a lot of ghosts like that.” I said.

“Why a postal worker?”

“He’s on his route. He’ll do that forever, I guess. I think it’s routine.”

Lilith considered things and spoke less like a child, “That makes sense.”

Lilith kept doing this. One moment she was a precious six-year-old. The next, she was scary smart like that. She was already smart enough, based on her test scores alone that I wouldn’t have to pay for college because she could get any scholarship she wanted.

On our way home, we hit every red light again, but I didn’t care. It was more time with my daughter.

We arrived to find Hiroko at our door.

“Been waiting long?” I asked.

“Like…an hour.” She said, “Your anti-cellphone field sucks.”

I let down my wards and opened the door for everyone just as the rain finally stopped.

Thanks, rain, you piece of shit.

We walked in past Kerouac, who was waiting for us like he always was these days without Fergus. I looked down at the not-a-cat, which now had a black coat on its Maine Coon form.

“Anything weird happen?” I asked.

“Nothing more than the interesting age we live in.” The faerie said.

“In other words, no?”


“Why didn’t you just say that?”

“It’s more colorful to say it this way.”

Hiroko grabbed some towels and began drying the girls out. Good woman. Very on top of things. But she never showed up unless something was bad.

I helped my daughter into the other room and sat down with Hiroko.

“So, you heard about the…” I was about to say before a knock interrupted me.

It was David Clay, who was without his raincoat.

“Didn’t think you’d need an umbrella?” I asked.

“The forecast was wrong again,” David replied.

David came in. We dried him off. We sat down, and we started again.

“So, you…” I started, only to be cut off again.

“Jack,” Anna said from the other room, “You better see this!”

We all got up and went to the living room. The TV was set to the news covering riots in West Seattle.

“Sports fans turned violent today when…FUCK!” The TV Anchor said before getting tackled by an angry fan with a brick.

Before the Anchor was seriously hurt, his arm was caught by a familiar sight. A Native American woman who had been a boon to the community lately.

“Is that Miss Orenda?” David asked.

“I think it is.” I confirmed, “And she’s kicking ass.”

Part 06: Orenda Peshlakai

DFA_ECR_Log_1102_006.pngNormally if I were surrounded by enemies, I would turn into a Grizzly and start some shit with 2,000 pounds of fuck-off. But, the riot was a bunch of mortals. Drunk and angry but innocent.

That meant I had to go old school.

I went for the Spoiler, the guy who couldn’t shut his goddamned mouth and threw a few people out of the way. As a scion of a Nagloshii, I had considerable strength, and this was just the opportunity to show what I could do.

I laid out a fool with a haymaker and kicked another fool into the bar as I got the Spoiler into a fireman’s carry. I clotheslined a body painter and leaped over the bar.

“Get him in back! Lock the door!” I shouted at the bartender.

“Why should he be with me?” He pleaded, “Leave him out there to…”

I sniffed, and that was all it took to shut him up. The Bartender and the Prospect took the guy into the back and locked the door a moment before a chair hit the door.

I tried to stand my ground and get people to listen to me. Made a big speech.

That was cut short by some poor bastard being thrown through the Dawg House’s front window.

I did my best to put out fires and separate people. I disarmed those with weapons and evacuated those who were clearly not able-bodied males with too much booze.

I didn’t single-handedly put down the riot, but I know I got on TV and saved a Reporter.

It was about then that the Pack rolled in to help out with fire extinguishers, mace, and tasers. It gave me a free moment to get on my cellphone.

I called the one person I knew who definitely knew a lot more about spooky stuff than me. I called the Wizard.

“Jack, you been watching this?” I asked over a staticky line.

“Yeah.” Jack replied in static, “Come to my place. It’s a party.”

Modern technology was allergic to wizards and magic, so it was a miracle we could hear each other at all. But clearly, I was not the only person to notice weird shit going on.

“I’m in West Seattle. I am fifteen minutes away.” I said and hung up.

I moved to a nearby alley and found a place no one was looking. I used my power to change. The best way I can describe it is that it is like how most people put on clothes, but with a lot more steps. I call up my power, and pour it into my flesh. I then push my original form into another place…it gets complicated.

Most werefolk, including the Pack, had to go commando when they changed. But not me, I am way beyond that. My clothes changed with me as I became an everyday horned owl.

I flew on the wind and moved east…until a headwind caught me in the face and slowed me down. What would normally have been a fifteen-minute flight took something like a half-hour instead. Damned traffic jam was spilling over into the skies or something.

Gliding above Capital Hill, I looked down on the sights that had become the norm in Seattle lately. Cars were abandoned on the side of the road. People ran stop lights to get where they needed to go. Semi-Trucks were full of food being cracked open so they could hopefully get their cargo to a supermarket before it all went bad.

I found Chez Youngblood as I heard some folks call it, an old victorian mansion in one of the older parts of Capital Hill. Aside from its age and style, you wouldn’t guess it was actually the home of a card-carrying, spellcasting wizard charged with protecting Seattle.

I landed just in front of the place, so I didn’t set off any alarms or wards. Chez Youngblood had a lot of magical protection on it. I had heard stories it had more security than most nuclear missile silos, but that was clearly someone tripping.

I turned back into a person and walked up the path past the well-manicured lawn.

I knocked on the door and was greeted by David Clay.

“She’s here,” David called out.

“Come in!” I heard Jack say, “The gang’s all here…I hope.”

I walked in. David, Jack, and Hiroko Noshimuri were here. Something weird was definitely up tonight….

Part 07: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_1102_007.pngDavid, Hiroko, and Orenda all sat down at my table. Kerouac lingered in the corner, licking his paw while keeping an eye on my daughter like I told him to. I asked him to stay close in case we needed to ask him questions.

I gave the universe another minute to make up its goddamn mind before I started again.

“So, you all came about the Traffic Jam?” I asked, “What do we know?”

“It is quite unusual.”David confirmed, “More than a simple traffic jam is at work. The elevator at the courthouse was late.”

“That’s not much evidence.”

“There have been process errors across the entire court system for the past few weeks as well. Filings have been late. Even court dates have been delayed or rescheduled over the past two weeks.”

“Aren’t you supposed to start testifying?” I asked.

David Clay was the star witness to the Green Man Trial. He had witnessed Matthew Schumacher aka the Green Man kick an old lady out a window and try to murder David’s client. David, Fergus, and I managed to take the guy down, but on paper, David was going to be the hero in all of it. It was big news.

“The trial has been postponed again.” David confirmed, “The Judge’s schedule has been a mess. Missed two cases today alone.”

“That’s a lot of weird,” I said.

“I think this is faerie related.” Hiroko said, “I asked Kim about it, and his whole clan got cagey.”

“Faerie pranks gone bad?” I mused, “Definitely their style. Could it be Tad the Trickster?”

We looked over to Kerouac and waited for an answer. The little cat finished his bowl of water, cleared his throat, and responded.

“The mayhem? His style is a grandiose enough for it. But, an entire city? Not possible for Tad.”

“But it is his style.” I said.

“Tad is bound by obligation and territory. The entire city is too wide a territory for him to do all of this.”

“But he messed with Fergus’ wedding.” Hiroko said.

“Tad was being commanded to do so by a third party, and he was limited by his grudge with Fergus. He probably couldn’t leave the grounds of the wedding or affect anyone outside of the party itself. A far thing from influencing mortal ferromantic carriage traffic. He also isn’t nearly powerful enough to have caused this much havoc even if he was commanded.”

“Well, if it isn’t Tad, who could it possibly be?” I asked, anger seething into my words.

“Perhaps the Fomor are casting an entropy curse on the whole city.” David mused.

“Maybe a rogue bunch of Gremlins or something?” Hiroko said.

“Maybe it’s…” Orenda started just as she was silenced by another bunch of knocks at my door.

I slammed my fists on the table and stomped to the door.

“Who the fuck is it now?” I shouted.

I gathered my wizard supplies. My staff, my coat, my material components. If someone was on my door looking for some shit, I was ready for them.

I looked through the peephole and was not surprised who I found, but was that it took him this long to show up. I opened the door.

Virgil stood there on my porch nursing his bandaged shoulder. Though, it was the first time I had seen him with a familiar bewildered look. A look I normally associate with people who have just learned about something they can’t wrap their heads around.

“This is about the traffic jam. Virg?” I asked.

Virgil pointed a finger off the side, out of sight.

“A client wants to meet with you. It’s important.” Virgil said.

“You had to bring a client to me?”

“They asked for Fergus. He’s not here, so he went to Odianna, who sent the client to me and then to you. I am under orders.” Virgil confirmed.

“So, who or what is it?” I asked.

“Better you just look.” He said, again pointing to my front path out of sight.

“Fine…” I seethed as I took a step outside, “Can’t be weirder than the…”

On my lawn, I saw a seven-foot white-furred rabbit standing on his two bunny feet. He had pink eyes and wore an old-fashioned waistcoat and a pair of white kid gloves. The bunny’s fur was slick with sweat, and his clothes had cuts and frayed threads. He looked like he had just run a marathon and had been trampled or something.

I found myself mouthing the words for “What the fuck?”.

Virgil looked at me and said, “I was at the hospital. Got there three hours early for my surgery. Nodded off and missed it again. This guy then showed up the size of a regular rabbit, asking me to help find you. I took him to my car, he went through the door, and he got big enough to put the seatbelt on. Damndest thing.”

I decided to be diplomatic with the new visitor, “Can I help you?”

“Wizard, I have been trying to find you for days!” The Bunny said in a reedy voice, “I kept missing you. I require your aid!”

The Rabbit held up a chain that hung from his coat. From its end swung a brass mechanical pocket watch, an old-timey thing. The watch had something impaled in it, rendering it obviously broken.

In the corner of my eye, I could see the others staring out the window at our new visitor. Hiroko had the same bewildered face as Virgil.

“Oh my God…” Orenda said.

Hiroko started scratching her head, thinking, “Are we being invaded by Wonderland?”

“No, that would be…” Kerouac said, wandering outside. He shut up as soon as he saw the Rabbit, “Wilbur?…oh dear.”

“Kerouac, do you know this person?” I asked.

Kerouac answered by changing into his Pooka form, a creature somewhere between a chimpanzee and a demented muppet. He also conjured a formal court outfit I had never seen him in before. It had a red, silvery filagree of hearts and plants that reminded me both of nature and suits of playing cards.

The faerie bowed in the rabbit’s direction and spoke with the reverence someone gives a visiting dignitary or your boss’ boss’ boss.

“Wizard Youngblood and gathered allies, I present the White Rabbit, Timekeeper of the Red Queen of the Summer Court of Faerie.”

The Bunny took a series of breaths and bowed in return. “Indeed. I require your aid, or more than your village will suffer.”

Well shit. Now we had a faerie problem…

Part 08: Hiroko Noshimuri

Jack took steps back into his house past his front door, using his staff to hold himself up.

As the seven-foot rabbit approached the house, my hand subconsciously went to Zanpakuto. The house’s defenses were formidable, but this giant rabbit would be a faerie noble if Kerouac’s statement were true.

The Rabbit stepped about as close as he could as the rain came down. I waited for any sign of danger. Any at all. One stroke is all it would take one way or another.

Jack held up a fist to me. Relax, the fist said.

“Is your life in danger, W?” Jack asked.

The Bunny panted, “There has already been an attempt on my life. I fear I require shelter.”

I didn’t need Shen Sight to sense the migraine growing in Jack’s skull as he deliberated, leaving a seven-foot rabbit on his stoop. Jack responded in a practiced tone of a speech I think he had rehearsed for other uninvited guests.

“Under the terms of Unseelie Accords, I extend you an invitation into my home as my guest as long as you remain behaved, answer my questions, and help as needed.”

“I agree to your terms.” The rabbit said.

“Then come on in.” Jack sighed, “Now I’ve got two fucking faeries in my house.”

At first, I wondered how the rabbit would get through the door. The thing was bigger than Jack’s contractor. Then, the bunny closed the front door, which I noticed had a newly installed kitty door that Kerouac used to enter. Kerouac held the flap open as…a regular-sized white-furred Jack Rabbit entered the house dressed in a waistcoat.

“Get him some towels.” Jack said.

“I will handle it,” David replied, already returning from another room with a collection of towels he wrapped the rabbit in like he was a baby.

“May I?” The rabbit pointed at the Watch. Jack nodded, and the rabbit set the watch down on the floor.

Now that we had a chance to get a good look at it, my Shun Sight started working overtime. I leaned down to examine the watch in detail along with Virgil, but we didn’t dare touch it. Even a few feet away, I could feel the thing’s magic.

It was a fist-sized silver and brass mechanical pocket watch. It had a few nobs on the side for turning god knows what and several different clock faces. It also had a piece of metal embedded through its body.

“What is that, a bolt?” Virgil asked.

“A bo shuriken. A ninja’s weapon.” I confirmed.

I looked closer at the markings and opened my Shen Sight. I saw dark power flowing from the shuriken as I removed it from the watch. I didn’t have to think about it much further than that,

“Jade Court,” I confirmed.

David set the bunny on Jack’s couch, bundled up with a few glasses of water.

“I don’t know what the hell that thing is, but it is doing some weird.” Virgil said, “Check your watches.”

I looked down at my watch and noticed that the second place moved from “42” to “43” and back again. Back and forth.

“Could this be the traffic jammer?” I asked.

“Too early to say,” Virgil said.

Jack looked down at the bunny and seemed to get angry.

“Is this the thing that is fucking up my city?” Jack roared.

The bunny drank his first glass of water as David dried off his fur.

“It’s complicated, Wizard.” The bunny said, “The watch must be repaired post-haste.”

“That’s a yes.”

Jack picked up the watch like he was handling hazardous materials, “I’ll take this to my lab. Put it in my circle. Find out what the hell this thing is. The rest of you question him and keep him from blowing up my house.”

Orenda looked over at me and could see that I knew something.

“You said Jade Court? Vampires?” Orenda asked. Knowing her prey was a valuable resource to a monster hunter.

I nodded to her and finally released my grip on Zanpakuto’s sheathe.

“That was definitely a Jade Court shuriken,” I confirmed.

“I didn’t think we had any Jade in Seattle.”

“They’ve been making inroads lately. The Yakuza have been coming into town too, and some of their clans are actually Jade Clans.”

“Well, shit.” Orenda said, “Could this have been a hit?”

“I don’t know. We should ask Bugs here.”

Part 09: David Clay

DFA_ECR_Log_1102_009.pngWe spent a quarter hour getting the White Rabbit situated and calmed down. I did my best to ensure Jack’s hospitality was hospitable for a faerie in the form of an anthropomorphic rabbit.

Whatever the faerie’s role was, it was important enough that he seemed to have been attacked. But we needed a deposition. We needed to talk to the White Rabbit.

I took the empty water glass and offered the rabbit some vegetables. The Rabbit thanked me and began to devour the offerings.

I stepped back towards Virgil, who leaned against the wall to nurse his shoulder next to Orenda and Hiroko.

“We need to question him.” I said to Virgil, “Get his account.”

“Give him some more time. He’s obviously traumatized.” Virgil said.

Orenda walked past us towards the rabbit and started looming over him.

“Doesn’t look so scary, does he?” Orenda said.

Her presence persuaded the White Rabbit to hide behind the furniture out of sight.

I grabbed Orenda and reeled her back into the other room.

“We need to keep him calm,” I said.

“I got this. First, establish rapport with the subject.” Virgil said. He gathered a pillow and some papers and set out some food for the rabbit. He sat down on the floor next to the pillow he laid out and waited.

After about a minute, the rabbit emerged, looking around for threats. He took a seat on top of the placed pillow and began working on the vegetables we brought for him.

“Thank you, sirs.” The Rabbit said in a reedy voice.

“He seems to like you, David.” Virgil said as he looked up and smiled, “Step two, establish some more rapport.”

Until then, I think we had all forgotten that Jack’s newly reunited family was also in the house with us because Lilith appeared before anyone was the wiser. The child was in the top percentile of intelligence for her age bracket but looked at the rabbit with a six-year-old’s eyes.

Jack emerged from his lab, looking frustrated.

“The ritual for examining the watch will take some time….” Jack said.

Lilith reached out a hand and started petting the rabbit’s white fur.

“He’s so fluffy.” She said before hugging the rabbit and continuing to pet him.

Jack stood there in awe at his daughter. I think he had wanted to warn her away, but the sight of her innocence stayed him.

“Lilith, be kind to our guest,” Abby said as she picked up her daughter.

“Okay, Mother.” She replied.

Abby couldn’t help herself and rubbed the rabbit’s fur as well, “He is fluffy.”

Mother and daughter rubbed the rabbit’s fur together and scratched him behind his ears. The rabbit’s foot thumped against the floor uncontrollably.

“This is an acceptable accommodation, Warden. Thank you.” The Rabbit said to Jack, giving a thumbs up.

I could see Jack tear up at the sight of innocence.

“Go analyze the watch.” I said, “Your family is safe.”

Jack nodded and went back downstairs to do his magical research.

I decided now was the time for an interview, so I sat next to the Rabbit.

After giving him a minute to get his scratches, I got the girls’ attention.

“May I borrow our guest for a minute?” I asked, “I have questions for him.”

Abby nodded and picked Lilith up, “Lily, say goodbye.”

“Bye!” The child said and was dragged away upstairs.

Virgil continued his preparations for an interview by setting out some writing instruments and pads of paper for us. He took a seat between us, making sure the White Rabbit was well-hydrated and fed.

The Rabbit took that cue to sit up and produce a pair of reading spectacles he put on his face.

“Could you tell me what happened?” I asked.

The Rabbit shuttered and began to ramble.

“I was out in the Ways for an important meeting when I ended up somewhere unexpected.” The Rabbit said.

“Was this a planned trip?”

“Of course it was.”

The rabbit’s gloved hands produced a small notebook from his waistcoat pocket. I knew it was a calendar because it had more than one format for the entries. Each entry had a space for the Gregorian calendar currently in standard use alongside entries for several different methods of tracking the time of day and year, including some that hadn’t been used for centuries. Solar tracking. Summer tracking. The Mayan Calendar.

“I’m surprised you don’t have notes there for Stone Henge,” Virgil said to break the ice.

The Rabbit pursed his lips, “I miss them. They were very accurate.”

That drew a few eyeblinks from Virgil, who sat back and drank some of his own water.

“If you keep a schedule that detailed, someone set a trap for you,” I said.

“Heavens, that would explain those waiting for me.” The rabbit said.

“Where were you trying to go, if I may ask?”

“Another part of faerie. I had an engagement. Instead, I ended up at the prison."

“The prison?” I asked. “In King County?”

“Oh no, I believe you consider it to be for animals. South of the lake of Green.”

“You ended up at Woodland Park Zoo?” Virgil asked.

“Yes.” The rabbit said, “I believe that’s what it is called this century.”

Virgil nodded, understanding something, “I remember the Paranet saying that ever since Black Monday, the Ways around town have been dodgy. They’ve been changing. When the flood happened, it changed several Ways in and around the Zoo.”

“Who was waiting for you at the zoo?” I asked.

“Only three forms I could see. They attacked me with that weapon, and I fled into the Ways. It wasn’t until I exited back into the mortal world that I realized my watch was damaged.”

“When did this attack take place?”

The Rabbit looked at his notebook and gave a very precise date.

“That was when we were in Jotunheim.” I confirmed, “And when did you emerge back in the mortal world?”

“Fourteen days ago. I have been struggling to find the Wizard ever since.”

“So, tell us about this watch.” Virgil said, “You said it’s important?”

“I do not wish to put too fine a point on it,” The rabbit said, “But the watch must be repaired forthwith with the greatest alacrity. I cannot repair it myself, let alone with enemies after me, so I must entrust the Wizard with this task. I assure you that my Queens will most appreciate your aid and compensate you appropriately.”

“Where can we get it fixed?” I asked.

“You must take it to the Toymaker.” The Rabbit said.

Hiroko and Orenda poked their heads in, clearly enraptured with the sight of a lawyer speaking with a client.

“Where is this Toymaker?” I asked.

“Just south of the North Pole.” The Rabbit confirmed. The statement caused Orenda to gag, I think.

“You mean…”Orenda said, “Santa?”

“No. The Toymaker is a wyldfae unaffiliated with the courts. Kringle is but one of their clients.”

Virgil grabbed his shoulder, which seemed to be aching again, “We’re going to need some more cold weather gear…”

“No need for that.” The Rabbit said, “The Toymaker’s realm is how you say…. air-conditioned.”

“Well, thank God for that…” Virgil said, “Still doesn’t answer why the hell anyone would attack you.”

“Perhaps we should investigate the scene of the crime.” I said, “We should investigate the Zoo.”



Book 11: Chapter 01

Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem HumAnnoyd