October 25, 2012
After staying the night at Buxman‘s house, Dillon accompanies him to the church. From there, he calls Yuriko and informs her of his encounter the previous evening with Hutton. He then calls Tom Casing to ask if there is a DNA link in the evidence between the serial murderer’s three victims. Tom tells him that, yes, there was a DNA link between the material found on the bodies that could ID the perpetrator. The information is being sent to Quantico for comparison in their serial killer database.
Dillon also asks if Tom wants in on their hunt for the " goat-man. " Tom declines, stating that he want plausible deniability in the event things go south and, also, if the goat-man is tracking him, he won’t be looking for Dillon and his friends, and thus they may rely more on the element of surprise. Dillon then calls Yuriko again to update her on the information Tom gave him. He then checks in with Sabrina, who is doing fine and apparently on the job.
That evening, Dillon spends time at Yuriko’s apartment with her and Hana, having Kraft dinner.
October 26, 2012 (Morning)
Nick calls Dillon at about 10am the next morning. He apparently has finished the tracking map he was working on and has some “scuttlebutt” about the supernatural practitioners’ meeting he attended last night. He seems nervous and jittery. They make arrangements to meet at Nick’s apartment.
Hana is apparently coming out of her delirium tremens and feeling better for it. She is still a bit surly, but subdued. Yuriko asks if she can drop her off at her parents’ house while she takes care of some business and Hana agrees, though she does ask for her phone back. Yuriko considers it and hands the device back over to her cousin.
Nick‘s place is nice, but definitely not outlandishly so. It’s decorated with a particular bachelor-geek aesthetic. Their host is a bit nervous and shakily presents his tracking map. It is a typical laminated road map of Greater Portland with a line of thin, metallic runes and symbols lining the outside border. According to Nick, all he has to do is invoke a brief incantation and the map will show them where the former owner of the bullet is on the map—so long as they are still in Greater Portland and only for a short time. Eventually, the sympathetic magics of the map will wear away, but it should prove useful for some time yet.
They all then discuss whether they are ready to go after the goat-man yet or not. When they use the map, they need to be ready to move and act. They figure it will be best to act during the day, as he usually strikes at night, probably due to his outlandish appearance. They will need to gather their iron gear (rebar, etc.). Nick reminds them that he also still has an unmarked gun that he got from one of his contacts. They also decide that they need some mobility—far more than what public transportation can provide. Dillon decides that, when the time comes, he’ll ask Reverend Buxman for the use of his car.
Next Nick asks if they want to hear his “scuttlebutt”. Last night he attended the meeting of the supernatural community called by a woman from Chicago named Abby. She’s apparently come because she had created an organization in Chicago called Ordo Lebes, a loose confederation of low-level supernatural denizens: minor talents, practitioners, etc. Such organizations in other cities are starting to band together in something they’re called “The Paranet”, sharing information and trying to look out for each other. The world they know is already becoming more dangerous due to the war between the White Council of wizards and the Red Court vampires. She’s come to encourage the community in Portland to form such an organization and join the Paranet.
The meeting was held at Edgefield, in a warded conference room on the property. About 20 or 30 people were in attendance. Toward the end of the meeting, three Red Court vampires burst into the room and started slaughtering. Four people were killed, six were injured. Some of the more powerful practitioners tried to fight them off but quickly driven back. Nick left as soon as the fighting started. However, he heard afterwards, that apparently the wards protecting the room had been tampered with—presumably by a fairly skilled practitioner. No one is sure if it was one of the practitioners in attendance or some outside player. Also, apparently the Warden was out of town when this happened—she was in Eugene.
The biggest implications about the attack is that the Red Court has blatantly broken the Unseelie Accords— Edgefield is accorded neutral ground. What this means for the supernatural community is anyone’s guess. Further, why attack a room full of, for lack of a better word, “nobodies”. None of these people were heavy hitters or really a threat. Perhaps it was a message to the heavy hitters that no one is safe. Perhaps it’s a message to the Warden that she can’t do her job. Perhaps the vampires had no fear of retaliation for an attack on supernatural non-entities. It’s hard to say. In the course of the discussion, it is revealed that Nick has heard that Abby is still in town, staying in a hotel downtown, though he doesn’t know which one.
Dillon calls Sabrina, asking if she has heard anything regarding an incident at Edgefield last night. She hasn’t. He clues her into the fact that three full-blooded vampires attacked a group of “little guys” in a conference room there. She asks if Armando was one of them and Dillon says “Hopefully—otherwise there are four of these things in town.” He also describes the nature of the meeting to her and speculates as to whether the attack was a message for someone else. At any rate, he wanted her to know that Armando was not the only red vampire in town. He also says that he is going to be taking care of something today and that he will text her an address later. She should come looking for him there if he doesn’t contact her back in two hours from the initial text. She agrees, but warns him to be careful.
Yuriko gives Nick one of the ward keys for her apartment and both she and Dillon catch him up on other current events, including their dealings with the possessed Hutton. They also discuss what to do with the gruff if they manage to subdue him.
First, Dillon calls Reverend Buxman and asks if he can borrow his car. After establishing that it is a small hatchback, the priest asks him if he is doing “God’s work” with it. After a moment of thought, Dillon answers “Yes.” “Then the car and the keys will be waiting here at the church for you.” Nick says that he can get some legitimate, law enforcement-grade handcuffs from one of his contacts. Yuriko still has the rebar that they collected a while back at her apartment. So Yuriko and Dillon leave to pick up the Reverend’s car and the rebar while Nick goes to get the handcuffs.
October 26, 2012 (3:00 pm)
While Yuriko and Dillon wait at her apartment, Nick calls them and says that he’s got the goods—two sets of legit handcuffs. The two leave and pick up Nick at his apartment, map in hand and handcuffs and gun in pocket.
Sitting in the backseat of the hatchback while Yuriko drives, Nick casts his incantation. Dillon watches with wonder as a glow crawls its way across the archaic script surrounding the map and then a small blue orb appears about a millimeter above the map. The orb indicates an address across the St. John’s Bridge in North Portland.
They drive by the indicated address, both Nick and Dillon watching the map make minute adjustments as their target moves about within the residence indicated. The house is in a slightly run-down industrial district with sparse pockets of residential zones. After driving by the house, noting its overgrown lawn and paint-chipped exterior, they park the car at a nearby sparsely populated strip mall.
Yuriko and Nick trade places in the car and Yuriko strips and changes into her fox form. She then exits the car to go and scout out the premises. Soon after leaving, though, she returns and paws at Dillon’s phone to remind him to text the address to Sabrina. Dillon gets the message and does so.
Yuriko (still in her fox form) and heads down the back alley behind the house indicated on the map. Each of the houses in this neighborhood have back-facing garages and this house is no exception. There is also fenced-in yard. An inside padlock secures the back-most gate that opens into the alley and another, smaller, gate opens onto the driveway. This gate is secured by a padlock on the outside.
First, she heads into the side-yard and checks out one of the windows along the side of the house. She opens her senses wide and hears the sound of a TV playing some sort of courtroom program. She also hears something like an object being set upon a table, as well as a crunching and smacking sound. She also smells the strong scent of gruff—something akin to the crossing of skunk with rotten eggs. Satisfied, she sneaks back around to the backyard.
Sniffing around the fence for a bit, Fox-Yuriko finds a place that she can squeeze through into the yard. Shuttling through, she sees an overgrown yard and a small slab near the house, probably a place to set-up a backyard grill. There are windows, but they are shuttered by blinds. A backdoor also has a window set into it. She cautiously makes her way to the door.
Yuriko rises up on her hind legs and looks inside the backdoor window. She sees the flickering light of a television in the hall beyond the door. The door seems to open into a small kitchen area—she can see counters and a small range. She also sees the edge of a metal sink beneath one of the windows. The gruff-stench is fainter here, but still discernible.
She sneaks away from the house and back through the fence to check out the other side of the house. Here she finds more blinded windows and overgrown grass. She then heads back to the car to change and tell the others what she found. After a brief discussion, a plan is formed and the three proceed.
Yuriko reverts back to her fox form and follows Dillon and Nick into the alley behind the house. She carries the two sets of handcuffs in her mouth. She then darts through the hole she found in the fence and takes up a position in the yard in the tall grass toward the back. When her compatriots get into position, she’s to start whining and yipping to get the resident’s attention and lure him outside—where Nick and Dillon will pounce.
Nick and Dillon pass their rebar through the hole that Yuriko squeezed through. Nick then scales the fence and drops into the yard on the other side. He gathers up on of the rebar poles and scurries over to the west side of the back door, laying flat on the ground so as to avoid detection from the windows. Before making his climb, Dillon texts Sabrina to “reset the clock by one hour”— he’s heading in.
After a couple of attempts, Dillon manages to scale the fence and drop to the other side, where he sees that Nick is in position. He also notices the back door opening, revealing the shadowy form of the gruff—and he’s holding a gun. Dillon crouches low and grabs the remaining rebar.
Yuriko springs and moves toward Nick, leaving the handcuffs behind in the grass. Nick attempts to cast his force spell at the gruff—but apparently fails, as after a “whoof” of air, Nick’s nose starts to bleed. The gruff responds by pistol-whipping Nick, whose head jerks back hard at the blow. Dillon moves forward and swings his rebar at the goat-man, who nimbly dances back.
Yuriko bites into the gruff’s leg and refuses to let go, digging in with her teeth as hard as she can. Nick has drawn his gun and attempts to shoot the gruff, but manages to only wing him. It’s apparent that the blow to Nick’s head has impaired his ability to aim the weapon properly. The gruff then takes a swing to pistol-whip Dillon, but misses him. Dillon spits a wad of venom into the gruff’s face—and the gruff seems to be affected, as his expression takes on a distracted aspect.
As Yuriko furiously continues to keep her jaw-hold on the gruff, Nick manages to slam him hard with the rebar. The gruff tries to fire a shot at Nick with his own weapon, but misses. Dillon spits another wad of venom into the gruff’s face, hoping to overwhelm the creature with the narcotic effects of his saliva.
With Yuriko’s jaw-hold further distracting the goat-man, Nick swings the rebar again and misses. It takes another shot at Nick, missing, but surely alerting the neighbors to the violence going on in the yard. Dillon spits another wad of venom into the gruff’s face—and, finally, it collapses to the ground.
Yuriko jogs back to the grass and retrieves the handcuffs for Dillon, who places both sets on the creature’s wrists. She then enters the house, changes back into her human form, and looks to see if the dark Lexus that had been seen fleeing the scene of Tom’s shooting was in the garage. Sure enough, there is a dark blue Lexus inside. Meanwhile, Dillon searches the gruff for keys, finds them, and then he and a dazed Nick drag the heavy, smelly creature into the house.
All three of them then drag the gruff into the garage and place the creature in the trunk of the car. Dillon doses the goat-man with saliva one more time for good measure. Then he and Nick go outside and try to cover up the blood stains outside from their fight. They also wipe their prints off of the doorknobs and such with a dishtowel, returning the towel back to where they found it. They leave the gruff’s gun in the yard.
Dillon explores further in the house, finding it sparsely furnished—pretty much the only furniture is a TV stand with a small set on it, a large camp chair, and a tin TV tray. The tray holds a tall-boy lager can and a burner phone. Dillon takes the phone and heads back to the garage to meet the others. Nick and Dillon leave in the Lexus while Yuriko runs back to the Reverend’s car parked at the nearby strip mall.
As Nick and Dillon drive away in the Lexus, a police car passes them on the oncoming side of the street. Dillon calls Sabrina. “I need someplace to go. Someplace discreet.” Sabrina suggests the waterfront and gives directions to a block there that could fit the bill. There are lots of warehouses and back alleys there. “Has there been any police chatter? Anything about shots being fired?” Sabrina pauses and answers “I’m petty sure he’s the one who wrote Revelations.” “Are you alone?” “No. But I’m not on that call.” Dillon asks her to call him later and hangs up.
Meanwhile, Yuriko sees the patrol car pass the Lexus and scurries under the car and changes into her human form. She then gets into the car, dresses, collects her phone, and realizes that she doesn’t have the keys to the car. She calls Dillon and he turns around to come back to the parking lot to deliver the keys. Nick isn’t looking too good so he gets into the car with Yuriko who takes him to the hospital. Then she drops off Buxman’s car and takes the Max back to her parent’s house to check in on Hana. Finally, she heads off to her apartment to await a call from Dillon.
As Dillon heads to the waterfront to finish his business with the gruff, he calls Tom. Unfortunately, Tom is not alone and can’t speak openly. Dillon just let’s him know that he’s dealing with the goat situation and everything is looking good so far. He tells him that there could be chatter about shots being fired at an address in St. Johns. There’s a gun in the backyard that may need to be picked up. Tom wonders if he can justify a trip out there and do this himself. Dillon tells him that it would be the best thing to do in order to deal with any unwanted questions regarding that gun and the bullet they pulled out of Tom. He also asks Tom to inform him if any police chatter happens about a dark blue Lexus. Dillon warns the cop to continue watching his back—even if they deal with the goat-man, someone was setting him up with a house and a car. Tom thanks him and hangs up.
October 26, 2012 (5:00 pm)
Once he gets to the destination Sabrina described, Dillon finds an abandoned warehouse and pulls the car inside. He steps out, surveys the scene, spotting a small, empty office and no one in the room. He uses his shirt to wipe down the steering wheel and door handles. He hears some shifting going on in the trunk, so he unlocks it and carefully opens it, ready to slam the lid down again. The gruff gazes up at him with a slightly dazed expression, but does not appear to be struggling.
Dillon starts talking to the gruff, taking advantage of the addictive state that the creature is in to extract information from him. It turns out that the gruff was hired by a sidhe named Hubbard to kill the detective in order to stop the investigation into Lyst Cathers’ death. The gruff, called Valen, is a “free agent”. The hope was that the boy’s father, Trevidian, would lose face if the killer was never brought forward—Trevidian would owe the killer a blood debt and would not be able to extract his vengeance. Even if Trevidian is currently imprisoned, Mab’s whim could swing the other way and allow Trevidian to be free to collect. Hubbard wanted to make sure that couldn’t happen. Neither the gruff nor Hubbard know or care who killed Lyst.
Dillon gives Valen a choice: does he turn him over to Summer or to Winter? Valen chooses Summer. Dillon asks him if he has the Summer envoy’s number—he does not. Dillon shuts the gruff up in the trunk and calls Yuriko. He asks her to contact Peep and to Verikai to come claim the gruff.
Yuriko tells Hana goodbye and heads to Dungran’s to find the diminutive informant. She orders a beer and affixes a Peeps candy to the top, a calling card of sorts. Sure enough, in one of the darkened corners of the pub she is accosted by the tiny pixie. She tells him that Dillon has the gruff Verikai’s been looking for and asks if she can inform him. Peep responds that the news will come “from my lips to his ear.” She gives the pixie Dillon’s address at the warehouse and he heads out. Yuriko then calls Dillon to tell him that Peep is on his way to Verikai. Finally, she heads back home where she calls Nick at the hospital where she had dropped him off. Apparently they are going to hold him for awhile as he probably has a concussion. She lets him know that things are moving in a good direction and wishes him well.
Meanwhile, feeling generous to his talkative guest, Dillon removes the hateful rebar from the trunk with Valen and asks if it was Hubbard that supplied him with a car and a house. Valens responds in the affirmative. Nodding with affirmation, Dillon closes the trunk.
October 26, 2012 (7:00 pm)
Finally, a large black Expedition pulls up and four men emerge from within. One is clearly in charge while the others are clearly muscle. The leader steps forward, close enough to talk but not within arms reach of Dillon or the car, and says “I understand you have a package for me.”
“I do if you’re the person I’m waiting for,” Dillon replies. “Which season do you prefer? Summer or Winter?”
“The Summer nights are very sweet. The days, equally so.”
Dillon nods and tosses the figure the keys to the car and indicates that it and the “package” are his. He keeps a hold of the rebar and eyes the trunk. The leader asks him to stay until the “package” is confirmed. Dillon stays.
The leader opens the trunk, carefully, almost as if expecting a bomb or some other surprise, and gazes upon the bound gruff inside.
“Verikai,” Valen says.
“Valen,” says Verikai.
“Do you know him?” Dillon asks.
“We’re acquaintances,” murmurs the Summer envoy. He barely glances at Dillon. “Thank you. That will be all.” Dillon is apparently dismissed, so he leaves the warehouse. Soon, the Expedition and the Lexus both leave.
As soon as the Summer entourage has passed, and he has moved a few warehouses away, Dillon calls Gordon and informs him that he has information that the Winter envoy would be interested in. Gordon gets an address and says that he will send a car.
October 26, 2012 (8:00 pm)
After a while, a luxury car arrives with Gordon inside to take Dillon to see the Winter envoy. Dillon gets inside, still holding onto the rebar from his previous encounter. Gordon raises his eyebrows and asks if he is expecting a confrontation. Dillon says that he is not and tosses the rebar our of the window.
The driver takes them to Edgefield. Upon recognizing the grounds, Dillon comments, “I trust there will be no vampire attacks tonight?” Gordon responds with a cold stare.
Dillon is taken to the bar in the main hotel. The bar is empty but for Abby Miyazaki waiting for him in one of the booths. Dillon approaches and asks to sit, and the envoy motions for him to do so. Gordon takes a chair at a nearby table.
“I was told you had information for me.”
“The gruff was a free agent named Valen—not working for Summer at all.”
“Who was he working for?”
“Um, bonus information involving bigger people, bigger people for whom there may be a backlash to me and my friends. I would require discretion and protection.”
“Are these your terms?”
“Think of it as a request.”
Abby thinks on this for moment. “Very well, I agree to discretion and protection for the information.”
Dillon nods. “Valen was hired by a side called Hubbard.”
Abby’s eyebrows rise. . .and then she smiles. “That will do nicely. Why?”
“Blood debts and saving face.”
“Of course, yes.”
“Then you can protect me?”
Abby nods. “My position will help in this. And I find this information very useful.”
The two consider each other for a moment.
“I owe you a boon, do I not?” Abby says. “Do you wish to claim it?”
“Do I have to?”
The envoy seems annoyed. “Not if you don’t wish to.”
“Then I’ll keep that in my pocket.”
Still annoyed, she murmurs “Very well.”
“Is that wrong?”
Abby sighs. “It is never. . .comfortable. . .to be under the weight of a debt. But it is yours if you wish to claim it.”
“I feel like we have a good relationship. I don’t wish to jeopardize it.”
“You have pleased me with your information.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“You may,” Abby replies cautiously.
“Will I have to agree to terms?”
“I’m feeling generous. . .”
“Why would the Red Court attack nobodies?”
Abby ponders this for a moment. “They knew that it would not please the Accord holders. It is a thumb to the nose to the other powers. The breaking of the Accords confirms that they are at war with everyone. Perhaps they are overconfident. Perhaps they wish to convey that those that think they are safe are not. This was not the only strike that at the Red Court made that night. It was a large scale strike, not a strike against this group in particular.”
“As far as the protection you promised, what are the weaknesses of the Red Court?”
“Sunlight, mostly. A blow to the gut.”
Abby rises, calling the meeting to an end. “You have Gordon’s number if you wish to claim your boon.” Dillon excuses himself and Gordon gives him a ride home. Once back at the church, he calls Yuriko and catches her up on the situation.
October 26, 2012 (9:30 pm)
Dillon calls Tom, hoping that he is alone. He is. Tom has collected the gun from the house where they fought the gruff earlier. Dillon informs Tom that the goat is off the case, but that the power behind him is at large. It wasn’t personal, but about the Lyst Cathers case. Tom asks if he needs to know more. Dillon responds only that the mastermind is not the killer, but will not give up trying to keep the truth secret. Tom responds that he will simply have to protect himself because he’s not letting go of the case. Dillon warns him that this guy is “high up”, powerful, and may be untouchable. Tom asks if Dillon is still helping on this case.
Dillon ponders this. “Well, I’ve fulfilled my duties. . .but if you want to me to still be involved, I will.”
“Even with the danger?” Tom asks.
“Don’t know that it will be, for me, as I’m not official or anything.”
“If you’re willing, then I am. And thank you.”
After hanging up with Tom, Dillon sends Sabrina a text: “All good now—business concluded.” After sending the text, he reconsiders and calls her, giving her all the information on the Red Court power play and assuring her that he’ll keep her informed of all vampire-related news. Finally, he touches base again with Yuriko and calls it a night.