Campaign of the Month: February 2022
Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
Book 05: Chapter 04
Tick. Tick. Boom!
Transcribed by: James
Date: September 22, 2019
In Game date: April 14, 2012
Part 01: From the journal of David Clay
We managed to evade the police with a little help from Fergus Mac Cormaic’s Fae magics and make our way to Capitol Hill and the Radcliffe Clinic there. Fergus’s old friend, Dušan Branislav was in bad shape after enduring torture at the hands of Casimir Sokolov and his The Sokolov Bratva and needed medical attention. At least he would harm no one ever again. It was a difficult battle, but Fergus and I were able to defeat the undead monster. Barely.
Dušan was in Leif Wotensen’s very capable hands and the doctor explained that the young man would make a full physical recovery. He was worried about lingering psychological damage though. Being held and tortured for nearly 8 hours would take a heavy toll on anyone. But when your tormentor was the scion of a Slavic deity of Murder, Cold and Fear it was infinitely worse. After instructing us to not tire out his patient, Doctor Wotensen let us in speak to him.
Dušan was eager to talk. I believe he realized that he owed us for saving his life. He related to us that he had been hired by a professor from the University of Washington named Ronald Parker V to smuggle in a secure shipping container. He had no idea that the Sokolov Bratva was connected to the shipment.
Dušan used his connections to bring in a shipment of high tech materials for Fergus’s new line of Parkour clothing from the Czech republic and was going to smuggle the strange container through customs among that cargo. He had picked up the mysterious container in Dublin, Ireland and at first everything seemed normal. Dušan said that tensions rose the first day out of the port and fights broke out between long time shipmates and friends. The captain had barely been able to keep his seasoned crew under control. Everyone seemed to be drawn to the mysterious, rune covered container, with several crew loitering in the hold near it. The young man said he couldn’t fathom why this cargo was so compelling. He had opened it only to find an ugly, snarled, blackthorn tree. He could not understand why anyone would want the damn thing. Apparently it gave him “the creeps”.
That certainly caught my attention and I exchanged a knowing look with Fergus. Sebassis! We were dealing with the Blackthorn Demon we had defeated at the Radcliffe lab several months ago! That would certainly explain the presence of The Patient One who had been harnessing the demon’s energies by using the Un-Man to drain it. We urged Dusan to continue his tale.
He said that it was all reaching a breaking point and one of the crew murdered his mate right in front of the container, splashing it with blood. Soon afterward a strange black mold began growing on the cargo and Dušan realized he would never get the tainted container past customs. That was when he had been called on his cell phone by a stranger who said that he would deposit a huge amount of money in Dušan’s accounts if he helped them acquire the mold covered tree. The stranger assured him he could get the shipping crate past customs if Dušan used his connections to get it on the docks, and he was true to his word. That must have been the mysterious phone number our ally, Grizzly, had pulled off of Dušan’s cell phone log. We had traced it to a used car dealership in Ballard.
How did I not realize it before? My dear friend, Singard Jarlson, was charged with keeping an eye on the mischievous Eric Laufey. Eric, who worked at a used car dealership in Ballard. Eric, who was constantly getting involved in a variety of criminal activities. Oy vey! It was right before me and I hadn’t made the connection. As a son of Loki I had little doubt that Eric Laufey could get a mold covered container past customs. But who was he working for? Obviously not the Sokolovs or their allies.
I made my farewells to Fergus and he explained that his wife was meeting him at the Clinic later to get their newborn daughter’s six month vaccinations. I called my dear friend Rabbi Jerith Shulman and got a ride to my home where I picked up my own car and drove to investigate the Ballard Used Car Lot. I needed to get to the bottom of this.
Part 02: From the journal of Fergus Mac Cormaic
Damn. I was tired. I had been going nonstop since the day before and had been shot at, beaten, chased by the police, faced a horrific undead frozen Slavic monster and somehow rescued my friend from his clutches. I had managed to get a little alone time in the basement of the clinic where Aunt B had created a magical “Safe Room”. When we had originally captured the Un-Man he had stayed in this room, complete with an elaborate magical circle inscribed by Seattle’s local Warden, Jack Youngblood. I had also taken shelter in there when a Fomor tried to kill me with an Entropy Curse.
I needed a little peace and quiet to calm myself down. After that life or death battle with Sokolov I was feeling a bit rough and my command of the Wylde power within me was slipping. Some meditation was just what I needed to regain my control. I was now a killer after all. Gods, why did I do that? David was right. If I don’t master myself and the Wylde power within me I would become a monster. A threat to everyone around me. I cannot allow that to happen.
After we spoke to Dušan and David had left to investigate some leads I settled down in the Radcliffe Clinic waiting room. Anna Maria Avila and my little girl, Erin had an appointment to get her six month vaccinations later in the morning. While waiting there I saw Jack pushing Abigail Youngblood down the hallway in a wheel chair. Abby looked much better than she had the day before and it did my heart good to see that. She was such an amazing woman. To go through the hell she had endured and still remain so strong was a testament to her unmatched resolve.
I greeted the pair of them and told them about what had happened over the last day hoping they might have some insights on what to do. Jack got real quiet and exchanged a look with his wife.
“What?” I asked. “Do you guys know something I don’t?”
“Well, yeah,” Jack said with a crooked smile on his face. He got real serious though as Abby smacked him on the arm and explained their concerns.
“It’s just that if Sokolov, who had been drained of his power by the Un-Man and was in a wheelchair, now has it back then it follows that Jack’s ritual regaining his own magic restored all the energy that had been drained…”
“Exactly. The demon, Sebassis had been held by The Patient One at that Radcliffe facility being drained for over a year as far as we can tell,” Jack explained. “My ritual would have restored it but the demon is no longer on this plane of existence. All that energy is still out there for the taking.”
“But you would need a sympathetic object with deep ties to the demon to draw that power to you,” Abby continued.
“The Blackthorn tree?” I asked. “That would explain why they had that damned tree shipped from Ireland.”
“Yes. Exactly. But I don’t think that would be enough by itself, " Jack speculated. “You would need to do the ritual in a place that had been tainted by the Blackthorn Demon’s power. A place where one of his trees manifested or the place where he was held in Bellevue.”
“Right,” Abby said nodding. “And you would need a living person who was connected to the demon or to demonic energy itself in some way as a sacrifice. Someone who had been taken or held by the Lunatisidhe maybe.”
“Or someone who had been driven insane by Sebassis,” Jack added.
“Amanda Chamberlain,” I said. “David and I rescued her from the clutches of her turned family. I bet she would be a perfect vessel for the ritual.”
“You could be right,” Jack said with that grin of his. “You’re not as dumb as you look.”
I punched him in the arm lightly and we shared a chuckle. "I have a favor to ask you man. "
“Sure, what do you need?” Jack answered.
“After her appointment I was hoping you would let Anna and Erin stay at your house until we get this demon thing figured out? It is probably the safest place in Seattle with all those wards you put on it.”
“Yeah, man. No problem. Be happy to put them up for a bit. They can sleep in Caroline’s old room. She is still apprenticing overseas.”
“Thanks, Jack. I really appreciate it,” I said shaking his hand.
“You owe me one,” Jack called out over his shoulder as he wheeled Abby out to the street. I waved goodbye to them and went back to the waiting room. Anna would be at the clinic soon.
Part 03: From the journal of David Clay
After going to my home and picking up my car and a change of clothes I investigated the Ballard Used Car Lot. Unfortunately, it didn’t open until 11AM and I wasn’t able to learn much. The place was pretty dingy and the selection of cars was…uninspired. While I was waiting for the place to open I got on my phone and did some research into Ronald Parker V. According to the University of Washington website Professor Parker had been teaching a class on Celtic Mythology. He had just come back from Ireland from a 5 month research trip using a grant from the Radcliffe Foundation.
The connections between Trevor Radcliffe and The Patient One were well known to me so I was not surprised to see that the billionaire was behind Parker’s trip. If the stories were true the demon, Sebassis, is said to fuel the ambitions and desires of the greedy and power hungry granting them fortune in their endeavors. At least for a short time. In the end his “gifts” always turn sour causing violence and the strife he is known for. Radcliffe’s fortunes had taken a bad turn since we had banished the demon back to hell 6 months ago. He must be desperate to get the demon’s powers back in his favor.
While I was speculating about Radcliffe and Parker I had strange feeling that I was not in the right place. That my presence was needed back at the clinic. I had learned over the years that I must heed these instincts. They always served me well. I got back in my Crown Vic and drove back toe Radcliffe Clinic arriving just as Anna showed up with little Erin.
It was good to see her with her young daughter and I could tell that she loved both Erin and Fergus with all her heart. Leif Wotensen arrived and Fergus’s mood shifted subtly. He seemed jealous of the young doctor. Even I had could tell that Leif was quite attractive and had a noticable effect on women. Even Anna seemed dazzled by him. I helped her with Erin while Fergus made an excuse and stormed out of the room. He was distracted and he stumbled into the last person he expected to see. I heard the Irish accent and followed him out of the room. The mysterious Irishman we had seen at the church who was working with The Patient One and Casimir Sokolov was there pushing a medical cart.
He told Fergus that we did him a service by killing Casimir Sokolov last night so he was going to return the favor. He nodded toward Anna in the next room and flipped something on the cart and a ticking sound started. He told us not to move the cart if we wanted to live and said we would see him again. Then he calmly walked away.
Fergus carefully pulled the sheet that was draped over the cart off of it only to reveal an elaborate homemade bomb with what was clearly an anti-tamper device on it. After his initial surprise Fergus walked over to the wall and pulled the fire alarm. Anna and Lief came outside and saw the device and she grabbed little Erin and started calmly urging other patients to vacate the building. I noted that the cart was big enough to carry more than one of the devices. I sent Fergus to find me some tools and examined the device, looking for a way to disarm it. Fergus returned with some tools and he began looking for the second device as I carefully removed the back cover from the bomb. The ticking accelerated and the countdown was imminent. Fergus was racing around looking for the other device in the loading dock area in the back of the building with no luck. I traced the workings of the bomb and formulated a desperate plan. I could only hope I got it right. I didn’t hesitate and drove the screwdriver right through the mechanism with all of my supernatural might. I was relieved when the ticking stopped. I had done it. I had disarmed the bomb. But we still had at least one more to find.
I started up the stairs to the roof and called out for Fergus to check the basement where the Safe Room was located. I saw Lief start to follow Fergus down the stairs when the whole world lit up around me with blinding force. We were too late. The bomb had gone off.