Campaign of the Month: February 2022
Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem
Book 06: Chapter 03
She Came in from the Cold
Transcribed by: James
Date: August 15, 2021
In Game date: May 04, 2012
Episode: 35 (110)
Part 01: Fergus Mac Cormaic
We got to Jack’s house after successfully escaping from The Peter Kirk Syndicate headquarters with the contents of Trevor Radcliffe’s safe. Which included a hefty chunk of cash among all the other incriminating documents and notes.
I was so keyed up from the heist that I remember ranting to Jack that I could do so much with that money. I could pay off Emanuel Barardo and fully finance my own clothing line. I could build a proper studio or pay for little Erin’s college. It would really help me out if I had some real money like that.
When Jack mumbled tiredly about possibly donating the money to rebuild Aunt B’s clinic I admit that I felt like a selfish dick. I should have thought of that first. The clinic’s bombing by Lorcan Rourke was a devastating blow to the supernatural community that she treated. Including my wife and child. There was no way I could take that money for myself.
Jack had been quiet on the drive back to his house. I guess unleashing the full fury of a wizard’s combat magic took a lot of energy. He was nearly asleep on his feet.
The Wylde was coursing through my veins and I could feel my heart racing. I just wanted to jump out of Jack’s jeep and run and hunt and kill.
I was so ALIVE!
It was a real struggle to keep myself under control. Motes of green power wicked off my skin glowing softly in the night air.
“Hey, Jack!” I bellowed in Jack’s ear, nearly causing him to jump out of his driver’s seat with a stifled curse. Luckily we were at a stop light or he might have crashed his jeep.
“Oh shit. Sorry, man. Sorry,” I said much more quietly as Jack pulled into the driveway and parked. “Uh, can I hang at your place until the ferries are running again? There is no way I can get back to Vashon Island at this time of night.”
“Yeah,” Jack replied, getting out of the jeep and moving to the front door. “I already prepared the guest room for you.”
“Cool. Thanks Jack. You’re the greatest. You and Abby both. I just love how you guys look out for each other and I really appreciate everything you gu….” I stopped when Jack held up his hand, while stifling a yawn with the other. “Sorry. Jack. Sorry. I just can’t help it.”
“Look, Fergus,” he said calmly. “Just keep calm and get some sleep man. I don’t want to wake Abby.”
“Right. Right. Yeah. I hear you Jack. I hear you. We need to keep it down for Abby,” I agreed maniacally as green motes of energy slowly dissipated around me. “Absolutely. Quiet. So quiet. Yep…”
Jack paused as we entered the house and I heard him sigh heavily, looking up to the ceiling.
“Hey, I get it,” he said quietly in a calm, kind voice. “That fight got you all worked up. Look. Why don’t you go to the basement and maybe do some pushups or something. I am going to go to the QFC and lay in some supplies. When I get back you can help me with the groceries and then we can get some sleep. That sound OK?”
I could only nod my head with my teeth clenched. I feared that I wouldn’t be able to contain my speech below a bellow. I flowed down to the stairs and began a whole series of pushups and setups to try and burn this energy off.
Part 02: Jack Youngblood
When I got back from picking up enough groceries to feed a platoon, or one best friend, Fergus Mac Cormaic graciously helped me put them away and then left to catch the early morning ferry to Vashon Island. I told him I would need him back around 1pm so we could all meet up and figure out our next move. Fergus was a good man. I just wish he was able to exert more control of himself after a fight. Maybe I could teach him some meditation techniques. After all they were a big help for my best friend, Bruno Walsh.
Bruno was host to an ancient Native American orca spirit called Yuquot. The spirit, who experienced terrestrial sensations through Bruno for the first time in centuries, had a voracious appetite. As a result Bruno ate more food than any three people combined and often had to resist Yuquot’s powerful urges to experience sensations and battle the spirit’s extreme passions. I had used my talents with spirit magic to restrain the whale’s excesses on several occasions. This had only strengthened our deep friendship and the two of us had come to be more like brothers than just friends.
Among the loot we had recovered from Radcliff’s safe included papers and surveillance on the Walsh Green Construction Company. Bruno’s company. There were correspondence that suggested that Radcliff had hired muscle from a small time local gang that called themselves the Loners to sabotage and harass the workers at several of his worksites. I was exhausted but I called up the big man up and set up a lunch meet to warn him and to decide what to do about it. With that done I went upstairs and collapsed.
I am getting too old for this shit.
Part 03: Virgil Gugasian
We all met back at Jack’s house for a late lunch. Jack made enough Zucchini Lattice Lasagna to feed a small army and I have to admit that it was surprisingly tasty. Bruno Walsh, who had the appetite of said small army, was a massive man who exuded a quiet strength and an oddly humble attitude. He was listening to Jack’s briefing while visibly restraining himself from getting a fourth helping of the lasagna.
After showing his friend the documents that implicated Radcliff in planning attacks on Walsh Green Construction we all decided that our best move was to send it to the proper authorities. Jack got in touch with a Rick Jordan, an officer who had a good relationship with the currently ailing David Clay, and one of the few reliably honest cops in Seattle. He delivered a folder with the original documents to Jordan’s desk anonymously after I finished making copies in case we needed them for our own purposes. We promised Bruno we would follow up on the attacks and make sure he and his men were safe. Bruno quietly thanked us all and left to go back to work.
After the big man had left Jack set up a meet with Lucy Smith-Einar in Jack’s back yard. Fergus and I concealed ourselves with a veil at the gazebo and were prepared to back Jack up in case Lucy was acting in bad faith. I admit that I was a tad surprised at the Warden’s paranoia about Lucy. I had no doubt that she was hiding something but I don’t think she was acting maliciously. But it was Jack’s show. She arrived in a rental car, and limped with her cane to Jack’s back yard. She looked fatigued and was clearly experiencing discomfort from her wounds.
“Lucy,” Jack said extending his arm so she could lean on him as he lead her to the patio table. “Thank you for meeting me. I have some fresh squeezed lemon aide and some snacks. I would invite you inside but Abby is not feeling well and needs her rest. I hope you understand.”
“Of course, Jack,” Lucy replied. “I am sorry to hear she’s having a bad day.”
“Thank you,” Jack said, staring intently at the young woman, obviously trying to read her. “We managed to break into the Radcliff Headquarters safe and steal everything in it. We found a great deal of value but there was no sign of your notes on the demon Sebassis.”
“Merlin’s Beard!,” Lucy swore like a wizard, emphatically, but still careful not to invoke anything or anyone. “I was afraid of this. He must have moved them after I left.”
“Sure,” Jack said deadpan. “I am sure that is it. We did find this.” He said as he tossed a folder with the developed surveillance photographs on the table. The photos spread out in a splash showing Lucy and the White Court Vampire enforcer, Delilah Montague going on what was clearly several dates.
Lucy stiffened when she saw the implicating photos but kept silent.
“Care to explain what your relationship with a vampire of the White Court is?” Jack demanded. Lucy turned away, her face an emotionless mask.
“Is this why you really wanted us to break into that safe? To bring you this kompromat?”
The young woman said nothing. She stared stoically ahead with her hands in her lap.
“Dammit, Lucy,” Jack exclaimed, slamming his fist on the table impatiently. “Why the hell would you betray the Council for a monster like Delilah Montague!?!”
Lucy just stared Jack down, completely composed. “Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but you know less than you think.” she stated quietly. “There are things that I cannot speak of. Not without assurances. Especially not exposed like this out here.”
“Assurances?” Jack muttered. He gazed at Lucy searching for several long moments. He stood slowly and raised his staff of power before kneeling before her formally.
“Lucy Smith-Einar, I Jack Youngblood, Warden of the White Council of Wizards invite you into my home and offer sanctuary. I swear on my power that you will be treated with respect and all due courtesy. No harm will come to you and as host I will share none of what I learn from you with outsiders without your permission.”
“Jack Youngblood, I Lucy Smith-Einar accept your invitation and swear on my power that I will abide by all the Guest Rights according to the rules and traditions of the White Council and will bring no harm to you or your household.”
“Good,” Jack said. “Let’s head down to my lab. No one will be able to listen in on us there.”
Jack whistled out to us, “Boys, you can come out now.”
Lucy didn’t jump when Fergus and I appeared out of thin air in front of her. She just crossed her arms and glared at Jack. He shrugged.
“What? Like you wouldn’t have taken precautions under these circumstances.”
Lucy deflated with a rueful nod of her head and I extended my arm for her to lean on. She smiled at me in greeting and I escorted her down to the stairs to the basement. We had a lot to talk about.
Part 04: Fergus Mac Cormaic
“Dammit, Jack. Would you stop fidgeting? What are you? Twelve?” I yelled out over the driving beats of VNV Nation that were cranked up to just below the pain threshold. The Masquerade private club wasn’t very crowded on a Wednesday but the DJ was in full spin mode trying to get the modest crowd out on the dance floor.
“I can’t help it,” Jack replied. “This goddamn shirt itches like crazy, there is enough starch in the pants to stand up on their own and who the fuck thinks purple velvet long coats are a good idea in the 21st Century?!?!”
“Hold still,” I commanded as I straightened Jack’s vest out and readjusted his shirt. “I don’t know how Abby puts up with such a whiny little cry baby.”
“Well, for one she doesn’t dress me up like some kind of extra from a bad vampire period piece,” Jack grumbled. “What is the goddamn point of these getups anyway? I mean, who the hell are you supposed to be? ‘The Leather Leprechaun’?” he said with a smirk, pointing out my sleeveless leather top and tight leather pants and boots.
“The point, Jack, is that we are meeting with a Handmaiden of Winter and need to show her the proper respect,” I ground out trying to keep a lid on my temper. “Wearing the proper attire after requesting an audience from her will show her that we value her status as The Winter Rose. Making her more amenable to our requests.”
“I have met with Odianna countless times and never dressed up like a fucking goth reject before,” Jack rebutted irritably.
“And how has that worked out for you?” I asked.
“Um. Well I…Uh…That is…,” Jack paused as he realized that he had never really come out on top in his dealings with the exiled fae.
As he quieted down I considered what we were doing here at the Masquerade, on the threshold of Odianna of Winter’s power. Lucy had finally come clean down in Jack’s mystically secure basement making things far more complicated for us all.
It turns out that Lucy had been working as a covert asset for Wizard Peabody of the White Council of Wizards for several years. She had spied on Delilah Montague on Peabody’s orders reporting back to the Council. Lucy’s situation was compromised further when Delilah asked her to spy on Trevor Radcliffe and The Peter Kirk Syndicate. She took the job at PKS at Peabody’s command giving regular reports to Delilah and Peabody and presumably the Council.
But then she found out that Peabody had betrayed the White Council and had murdered several wizards when his duplicity had been revealed. Lucy was left out in the cold, afraid that if she revealed herself to the White Council she would be implicated in Peabody’s betrayal. Or considered a spy for the vampires.
She had continued to work at Delilah’s agent while trying desperately to figure out how to get away from Radcliff and his schemes. Radcliff was clearly on to her as the surveillance photos showed he knew of her connection to Delilah. If she hadn’t left Radcliff when she did it is likely that the billionaire would have retaliated against her in full.
It turns out that she really did covet her notes about the demon Sebassis that had been left with Radcliff. She feared that her work would be used to cause more misery. Even beyond Sabassis, her notes also had a great deal of information on the activities of Ronald Parker V, who was running a great number of archeological digs for Radcliff, ones Lucy thought had an unusually large chance of dangerous arcane entanglements, Jack showed her the cryptic note they had found in Radcliff’s safe that indicated a relationship between him and the Winter Rose. Lucy reasoned that Radcliff probably had given Odianna the notes to hold for him as few places in Seattle would be as secure.
From there Jack had arranged an audience with Odianna through some guy called Mathew Riley. The two clearly had some rough history but the heavily bearded ex-SEAL had set up the meeting for that night after suggesting in a roundabout way that the notes would be kept in Odianna’s gallery, a usually obscured section on the side of her audience hall.
Virgil had recused himself from the mission explaining that because Odianna was a member of The Conclave of Emerald he would not be able to deceive or act directly against her due to the geas that had been placed on him. So that left Jack and me to infiltrate the most powerful Fae in the region’s private demesne and get Lucy’s notes without the help of our master thief.
“Listen, Jack I get it,” I said to Jack with determination. “You are one of the ‘Wise’ and I know you think you know how to handle Odianna. But I have lived as a Changeling for most of my life and I know how the Fae think. How they feel and what they want. If we are going to have any chance at all of pulling this insanity off you are going to have to stop being an ass and follow my lead. Got it?”
“Yeah, OK,” he said earnestly, looking chastised. “I get it. Just tell me what to do.”
“Right,” I said. “First off, you need to keep your mouth shut and back up my play. If Radcliff did leave the notes with Odianna we are going to have to find out indirectly. Do not barge in and make demands. That will only insult the Lady and we will get nowhere. If things go like I hope we…”
I trailed off as a huge, boorish figure that made Bruno Walsh seem puny by comparison stalked up to us glaring. I had run into Squire the last time Jack and I had visited Odianna. However, he had concealed his true form under a veil and just looked like a very large, very intimidating human. He was not concealed this time. He stood before us in all his ogre-ish glory. He was huge and radiated an aura of violence that was impressive. Jack had warned me that Squire, despite his brutish appearance, was a cunning and deadly opponent and that I should never underestimate him. I swallowed and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t.
“Green Guardian, Warden, The Lady will see you now,” the huge ogre rumbled, his deep voice sounding like granite.
“You honor us with your personal attention,” I replied politely. The ogre nodded, acknowledging my manners, and led us to a staircase in the back of the club. We ascended to the third floor of the two story building (something that still blows my mind) and were led through a stone arched door into another world.
Part 05: Jack Youngblood
Damn. I had forgotten how cold Odianna’s little pocket world could be. Squire led us down a path that was bracketed on both sides by towering ice covered trees whose branches curved over our heads forming a sort of chapel of the pines. Down each side of the path were pikes covered in elaborate Celtic designs and swirls. Normally Odianna had the heads of her enemies impaled on the pikes but for some reason they had been replaced with hands. In the distance, through the impenetrable fog and light snow that flanked us, we could occasionally hear a howl of agony carried by the wind that seemed to correspond to the twitching and spasms of a hand as it clenched in sympathetic pain. Shadowy canine shapes moved through the fog, visible only in the corner of my eyes.
Damn! This place was unnerving. I always felt like I had been transported to a time and place that is more primal and deadly than any that could be still be found on Earth. I felt like I was being watched. Hunted. Stalked like prey.
I shuddered with the cold and tried to shake off those feelings as we approached Odianna’s throne. She was draped languidly on the massive stone seat of her authority which was carved with elaborate scenes of hunting and wolves. The vines of the mystical and enigmatic Winter Rose intertwined the throne with glorious white blooms interspersed with painful looking thorns.
We approached Odianna and the sight of her almost made me forget how dangerous she was. Almost. She stretched on her throne and her furs slid and dropped showing a sleek and very skin tight dress beneath and I was suddenly very glad I was a happily married man. And that it was so damn cold. She stood to face us and Squire bowed low before her.
“Milady, may I present your guests,” he rumbled. “Fergus Mac Cormaic, Guardian of the Seventh Gate. At his side is Jack Youngblood, of the White Council of Wizards, Warden of Seattle.”
Fergus bowed when his name was mentioned and I hastened to do the same as Squire took his place at his lady’s side. “Greetings Odianna of Winter, Keeper of the Winter Rose,” he said solemnly. “I see your beauty has only surpassed my memories of it from our when last we met.”
Odianna’s smile was dazzling, but I hoped Fergus noticed the predatory gleam in her eyes and not just her pearly whites.
“You honor me Guardian, and you have become much more comfortable with your position since our last encounter,” she purred. “I assume your influence convinced the young wizard to dress more appropriately for our little meeting. I enjoy the presence of men dressing for my enjoyment.”
Fergus didn’t say anything but I could feel his smug “I told you so” radiating out from the back of his tiny little leprechaun head. The prick.
“What business do you have with me on this evening?”
“Milady, it has come to our attention that you may have been deceived into holding something for Trevor Radcliff,” I announced. “Something dangerous and possibly quite harmful.”
“Oh?” Odianna said raising an eyebrow. “How could a mere mortal trick a Handmaiden of Winter?”
I stepped forward and said, “We believe he gave you some notes from the Wizard, Lucy Smith-Einar. Notes that could be used to summon and harness the demon Sebassis. The demon already wreaked untold havoc across the region and we would prevent that from happening again.”
“I see. The demon is no friend of the Fae and several of my subjects suffered from his influence,” she replied thoughtfully. She paused a moment and looked us both over. “But even if I did have the notes as you suggest I would not be at liberty to just hand them over.”
“No. Of course not, Lady,” Fergus acknowledged. “We simply wished to warn you of the danger that may have been allowed into your home.”
The mists to our left thinned out displaying a small ice garden in the wings of the throne “room”. It really was quite lovely with a vast assortment of white ice roses and clear ice crystals that reflected the light in a dazzling display of color and cold. A mishmash of objects could be seen suspended in the ice crystals ranging from precious gems, to wicked looking daggers, to rune covered skulls. Both Fergus and I spotted what had to be Lucy’s notes on display amongst the other items. I met Fergus’s eyes and he silently acknowledged our discovery.
“As you can see, such things would be quite secure by any reasonable standards,” Odianna stated with a small, predatory smile on her glacially beautiful face. “So long as I am in my demesne few could approach my collected works without my knowledge, and most of them would have little interest in any prize therein. The full might and the fury of the Winter Rose is a guard against those I see.”
Fergus looked thoughtful for a long moment, his eyes focused on Odianna, looking over her head to toe, and then stepped forward and said, “Long have I heard tail of the fierce beauty Odianna, Handmaiden of Fern Frost, Guardian of the Winter Rose. A warrior beyond mortal might whose prowess is legend.”
The Winter Rose seemed to drink in the complements from Fergus. I thought he was laying it on a bit thick I am fairly certain that Odianna did not if her gleeful, preening smile was any indication. “As you know Leprechauns are renowned as tailors and I have dedicated my life to that tradition,” he continued while pulling out his sketchbook.
He began drawing quickly while he spoke, “I would be honored if you would allow me to create an outfit for you befitting your station as a Handmaiden of Winter that not only showcased your icy beauty but also allowed you the freedom of movement to dispatch your foes as the warrior you are. Something like this perhaps?”
With that he showed us an amazing sketch of an outfit that was formfitting and beautiful but also practical and easy to move in. I was impressed as hell to be honest. I had seem him pull of acrobatic feats in the field of battle that were graceful and savage but didn’t know he had the soul of an artist.
“That does sound most delightful, if your skill as a tailor is equal to your skills as an illustrator,” Odianna purred, clearly interested. “What would you require in trade?”
“I would need but take some of your time,” Fergus stated. “Would you join me at my workshop on Vashon Island so that I may take your measurements for a proper fitting?”
“I will simply send one of my body doubles,” she opined.
“Oh, I am afraid that would not be sufficient, my lady,” Fergus declared. “I would need to see a display of you in action so I may best accommodate your mighty prowess as well as your beauty. I would consider the priveledge of such a demonstration a fair payment for my offerings.”
Odianna was silent for a moment, smiling at Fergus with a wolfish grin. “I see,” she said slowly. “And when would you want to do this?”
“I will need to prepare for your demonstration and can dispatch Jack here to let you know when I am ready for you,” Fergus said. “Sometime in the next 24 hours?”
“Yes, that is acceptable. Send Jack Youngblood to my demesne to inform me you are ready. I will then leave my demesne for several hours while you take my…measure. A display of martial skill will be required in return for the clothing,” she smiled hungrily, flashing sharp teeth. “Is that acceptable?”
“Yes, milady,” Fergus said with a smile.
“Excellent,” she stated. “We have a deal then.”