The Dresden Files: Portland

Scenario Five: Session Two
Days of Future Past: Part Two

October 22, 2012 (9:00 pm)

Sabrina, still shaken from recent events, manages to drive everyone to Saint Andre’s. Dillon leads everyone inside and they all meet Reverend Buxman in his office. For his part, Buxman is visibly agitated. Sabrina, upon entering the church, has become visibly uncomfortable, hugging herself and shaking.

The priest is introduced to Yuriko and Hana, though the latter is still unconscious. After a brief discussion, Buxman lets the two women take Hana to one of the side offices. Once the young woman is settled in, both Sabrina and Yuriko check her for any bites or indications that Armando was feeding on her. They find nothing and return to Reverend’s office. In the meantime, Dillon is catching the priest up on the current situation involving their confrontation with the Red Court vampire.

In the course of the conversation, there is speculation as to why Armando was dating Hana, and not feeding on her. He has proven capable of savage attacks (Sabrina‘s ordeal being the prime example of that). Why not Hana? Perhaps it is because she cannot be turned as she is not human. . . At this point, Yuriko reveals to Reverend Buxman that she, and her cousin, are kitsune—werefoxes. Buxman indicates that he has never heard of a non-human being changed into a vampire before. Perhaps Armando sensed that she was not human and was trying to suss out what she was—and if there were other potential threats like her in his territory. Nevertheless, it is possible that she has been made addicted to the Red Court vampire’s venom.

Suddenly, Yuriko realizes that Armando may have been to her parent’s house. In a panic, she calls her father. She tells him that Hana will be staying with her for a few days, doing “woodsy” things. Mr. Nakamoto seems to understanding her meaning. She asks if Hana had ever brought Armando by the house. He seems surprised that Hana has a boyfriend, and that, no, she had never brought him. He also indicates that Anzu would never approve of such behavior. Yuriko gives her father a description of Armando and tells him to “never let him in the house”. Her father seems a bit confused by the request but assures her that they will not.

Dillon asks the Reverend for any advice on confronting the vampire. He says that his only advice is not engage with him. Dillon insists that something must be done about him.

Dillon also inquires as to whether or not Buxman has been in contact with his friend, Beauvais, regarding the other looming problem with the demon-possessed Benjamin Hutton. There has been no contact as of yet. Yuriko wonders about informing Sabrina about the demon and Buxman gives them permission to catch her up on that situation. Right now, their only plan is to subdue and exorcise the demon—how to go about that has not been determined.

The group decides, with the priest‘s permission, to hide that night in the church. Sabrina, however, wants to go home. She gives them her address, in case they need to find her. Dillon makes her promise to call when she gets home. As the group settles into the church offices to sleep, Dillon gets that call—Sabrina’s fine.

October 23, 2012 (morning)

Yuriko and Dillon awake the next morning in the church. Soon, Hana stirs groggily from her slumber as the others watch over her.

“What happened to me?” Hana asks.

Yuriko slowly explains that she and the others got her out of the club and away from Armando because he was very dangerous. . . and a vampire. She also explains that that is why they are currently hiding in a church. Hana shakes her head, not believing her cousin, and realizes that her drink must have been dosed. Yuriko focuses on the danger of the situation and the need to get Hana away.

As Dillon observes the conversation, he starts to feel his preternatural hunger stir in response to Hana’s latent addiction to Red Court saliva and becomes alarmed. He is then drawn into the conversation as Yuriko tells Hana that Dillon knows first-hand about being attacked by such a creature. He acknowledges that, yes, he had been attacked by one before and that now he was a kind of half-breed, walking in both worlds. It is only through the power of faith that he has not succumbed to the power of the beast.

Hana still expresses doubts and Yuriko gives Dillon a look. He then sighs and extends his latent fangs. At first, Hana’s breath catches in her throat in fear—then she seems to become excited and breathless. She approaches Dillon and gently, sensuously, touches his face.

“Do you believe me, now?” Yuriko asks.

“I believe him,” Hana says.

Dillon extracts himself from the fascinated young woman and asks “What kind of relationship did you have with Armando?”

“We went to the clubs a lot, made out a few times. What are going to do now?”

Dillon looks sternly at Hana. “Don’t see Armando until we know what to do. He’s dangerous.”

Then Dillon and Yuriko discuss the defense of her apartment against such a creature, especially the relative strength of her threshold. They explain to a confused Hana the nature of the threshold and its defense against the supernatural. They hope that it will be enough to defend against the powerful—and now probably angry—vampire.

Dillon goes to talk to Reverend Buxman. Apparently Father Beauvais finally contacted him. There was a break-in at his house last night, but he if fine. Buxman filled Beauvais in on the situation with the demon. The two are going to meet at the church today at 1 pm. Dillon and the priest discuss the addictive nature of vampire venom and Dillon’s belief that Hana may be addicted. He describes to the priest her reaction to him this morning. According to the priest, the addiction to the venom in general, not necessarily the source, thus her reaction. She could recover from such an addiction over time and with some physical reaction—just like recovering from drug addiction. Dillon asks that the Reverend call him after his meeting with Beauvais to let him know what is going on.

Meanwhile, Yuriko and Hana are left alone in the office. Hana checks her phone messages. Armando has apparently left a few inquiring after her. In his final message, he tells her that he’s had enough and for her not to call him. Hana is visibly upset. Yuriko assures her that it is for the best, that he’s dangerous. She also apologizes for not protecting her better. She asks Hana why she came to America. Hana resentfully responds that she came to America to have fun and that Yuriko is distinctly not fun.

Dillon returns from speaking with Reverend Buxman and takes Yuriko aside. He has bad news for her—Hana is probably addicted to vampire saliva. She could come out of it, but it will take time and be physically taxing for her. They also discuss possible plans to do something about it—speaking with Kendria or Aleister, for example. After their brief discussion, they return to the office where they left Hana to find that she has just finished a phone call with Armando. Yuriko takes her phone and deletes Armando’s number from it. Dillon calls upon his new preternatural connection to Hana’s addiction and speaks with her, reinforcing the fact that she shouldn’t contact Armando because he is extremely dangerous. She seems to take his words seriously.

October 23, 2012 (afternoon)

Yuriko and Hana go to Yuriko’s apartment while Dillon goes to Powell’s to speak with Aleister. At the bookstore, the old man is friendly, but obviously wary. Dillon asks if he can ask him some discreet questions and Aleister arranges for them to use the now-empty Rare Book room. The two discuss some of the differences between Black Court and Red Court vampires—particularly how they can control others. For the Black Court, they actually mesmerize and psychically control their victims, breaking their minds. For the Red Court, they use the addictive nature of their venom. Unfortunately, Dillon’s friend with the addiction will simply have to take time to recover—but she should recover. They also discuss the power of thresholds and the ability to strengthen them with wards. In an effort to convince the ex-Warden to strengthen the threshold at Yuriko’s apartment, he tells him a bit about the threat of the Red Court vampire, Armando. In the course of the conversation, Aleister reveals that he has heard that the Red Court and the White Council are at war, and advises Dillon that a call to the current Warden may be in order for their situation. As far as Yuriko’s threshold, Aleister could strengthen it with a ward that would have to be revitalized periodically. He will do this in exchange for a a favor in return, to be called in later. Aleister will establish a ward that can only be breached by those wearing 5 “key” talismans. He says that he will have to gather some accountrements and will meet them at Yuriko’s apartment later in the day. Dillon gives him Yuriko’s address and exits the bookstore, calling Yuriko to keep her apprised as to what is going on.

Back at the apartment, Yuriko tells Hana that an acquaintance of theirs is going to come by and cast a spell to help protect them from Armando. Hana, who has been sitting off to herself sullenly, just shakes her head in response. Dillon arrives, followed before too much longer by Aleister, who is lugging a large duffle bag.

The old man is invited inside and starts making preparations for his ritual. He establishes a chalked-off perimeter of the whole apartment, muttering in Latin to himself as he draws the lines. Then he establishes a circle in the carpet of the living facing the door. He draws rays protruding from his circle and joining with the lines surrounding the door. He then removes some candles and incense from his duffle bag and sets them up at the point of each ray. In an adjacent circle, he places a ring of large skeleton keys that he had gotten from a hardware store—he thought them “appropriate” as talismans. He then settles into the circle and begins muttering to himself in concentration. After a few moments, the air in the room grows more electric and the observers can see Aleister growing more and more stressed in his concentration. He seems to be jarred a few times, as if slapped. Finally, the air settles down and the old man opens his eyes. “It’s done,” he breathes and slowly picks himself up off the floor.

Aleister then explains to Yuriko that he will be back in a month to reinforce the ward, as part of the agreement he made with Dillon. He also mentions the existence of a group known as the Fellowship of St. Giles that have been known to help victims of Red Court vampire attacks. He wishes them all well and makes his exit.

Dillon calls and checks in with Reverend Buxman. He and Beauvais met at the church and discussed their current predicament, but came to no conclusion as to how to proceed—other than with extreme caution.

Then Dillon texts Sabrina, “Are you okay?” She responds with “Fine at work”.

Dillon then calls Nick. Nick lets him know that he’s been working on the divination device for the bullet and that he should be please with how it will turn out. He just needs a couple of more days on it. Dillon then catches Nick on the various irons they have in the fire. He tells him about the stakeout planned on the full moon (October 30) at Mount Hood. He tells Nick that they “met a demon” who’s trailing Reverend Buxman and that they’ve probably angered a full-blooded Red Court vampire. He also informs him about the ward around Yuriko‘s apartment and that they’ll be giving him a “key” talisman. Dillon also informs him of Hana‘s probably addiction and her connection to the vampire. Finally, he tells nick about the apparent war between the Red Court and the White Council. Nick gives Dillon Leilani Capstone’s contact information. Dillon gives Nick Armando’s description, as well as that of Benjamin Hutton. Nick also gives Dillon his address, in case he needs anything. He also mentions that some of the practitioners in the area are getting together at Edgefield to meet. Apparently a practitioner from Chicago is coming to discuss with them some means to protect themselves in these troubled times.

Finally, Dillon calls Elder Eaglestaff. He asks him about what decision the Elders have come to in regard to handling Killian Eris. The Elder tells him that they want to work alone and not call in any other groups. The Elders will be conducting their rituals at the same time as Eris attempts his—their work will (hopefully) counteract his. They will sendJack Sigo to help them (Dillon and the others) deal with Eris “in-house”.

Yuriko then calls Leilani Capstone. The Warden answers her phone with “This better be good.” Yuriko informs her that a Red Court vampire is stalking her cousin, explaining their current situation. She also gives the Warden Armando’s name and the fact that we works in the port and frequents The Zoo. Yuriko also indicates that an “anonymous acquaintance” has strengthened the wards on her home and that her cousin is showing signs of addiction to vampire venom. Capstone gets Yuriko’s address and assures her that she will be returning to Portland to deal with this matter. Later, Yuriko taps into Hana‘s phone account (with her reluctant permission) and gets Armando’s cell number, which she texts to Capstone.

Dillon calls Sabrina and explains to her that they have called the Warden to deal with Armando. He has to explain a bit about what Wardens are to her in the process. He also explains that an “anonymous acquaintance” has strengthened the defenses of Yuriko’s apartment and about the key talisman. In the meantime, Sabrina should “lay low”, unless it is necessary for her to come out. Sabrina reminds him that they were supposed to go to Hutton’s apartment today to see the secret chamber. Dillon had forgotten about that in all the excitement. They will meet her there today at 5 pm.

In the meantime, Hana cannot go to the crime scene with Yuriko and Dillon, so they agree to drop her off at Yuriko’s parents’ house en route to Hutton’s apartment.

Scenario Five: Session One
Days of Future Past: Part One

October 21, 2012

Northwest Portland, Near Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church

After getting back to the shelter at Saint Andre’s, Dillon changes his clothes with what’s available in the donation bin. He selects a blue-gray flannel shirt and ripped jeans. Then he goes to meet with Reverend Buxman for lunch.

While the two discuss the various cases that Dillon has been working on, including the conclusion to this morning’s excursion, Dillon notices that a man sitting in the bar area is staring intensely in their direction. The man is bald and well-dressed and doesn’t let his attention waver from the two men having lunch. Dillon points him out to Buxman, who says that he doesn’t know the man.

Dillon and Reverend Buxman finish their meal and head out of the restaurant. Dillon lingers behind a bit to see if the man from the bar follows them. Sure enough, the man emerges from the restaurant and starts following the priest. Dillon follows.

The man turns suddenly into a nearby alleyway—Dillon’s been made! Dillon runs up to the man and introduces himself. The bald man turns and faces him, quirking an eyebrow in inquiry. “Hutton,” he says, by way of introduction.

“What do you want with Reverend Buxman?” Dillon asks.

“We are. . . old acquaintances.”

“Well, if so, why don’t we go and say hello?”

Hutton smiles and says “I will see him soon.” He then turns and continues down the alley. Dillon feels that he is both amused and evasive, and the man’s intense green eyes give him the creeps.

As soon as the other man is out of sight, Dillon calls the Reverend to inform him of the encounter. Buxman has never seen the man before and knows no one named Hutton. However, he will keep on the lookout for him, as the entire affair is very strange and troubling.

Dillon calls Yuriko and arranges to meet at a bus stop to go visit Elder Eaglestaff in the hospital. He tells her of his encounter. For her part, Yuriko is troubled as well.

Northeast Portland, Hospital

At the hospital, the two are able to visit alone with Elder Eaglestaff. He lies in bed surrounded by flowers brought to him by friends and family from the NAYA center.

The Elder believes that he was attacked by a Shadowwing, an evil hunter-killer of legend. It is possible that Killian Eris had summoned the creature to dispatch his enemies. The three discuss various possibilities of where or how Eris is going to complete his plan, whatever it may be. Elder Eaglestaff believes that he is using a place of power on Wyeast to complete his rituals. If they could find that, then perhaps they could stop him.

As he is still recovering, the old man recommends they contact another Elder, Jack Sigo, and gives them his number. He is aware of what is going on with Eris—he was with Elder Eaglestaff when they confronted Eris about his actions.

After meeting with the Elder, Dillon calls Jack Sigo and arranges to meet as his home at 8:00 pm.

Southeast Portland, Barry’s Drafthouse

As they expected, Dillon and Yuriko find John Daymar inside Barry’s Drafthouse at his usual booth.

Yuriko asks the diviner about the possibility of creating a “magical Geiger counter” to use to find the place of power that Eris may be using to complete his ritual. Daymar doesn’t think he could that—magic doesn’t really work that way. Magical power would really only gather if it was brought to a certain point. But it is possible to construct a ritual to find a power “beacon”—that is, if he is using a magical confluence point to conduct his ritual, it may be sending off a great deal of energy, energy that could be detected by the ritual. It would be especially effective is performed while Eris was gathering power. Despondent at their chances of finding Eris, the two leave the diviner at the bar.

As they leave, Dillon calls Sabrina Manheim and arranges for her to have dinner with them at Yuriko’s apartment in the Pearl District.

Northwest Portland, Yuriko’s Apartment

Yuriko invites the Red Court Infectee/Police Detective into her home. Dinner has been prepared and she, Sabrina, and Dillon gather around Yuriko’s dining table.

Dillon gives the detective a description of “Hutton” and asks if she can look into him. She agrees that what he describes of their encounter is disturbing and says that she will check him out. He also asks her to get involved in the Danielle Fletcher case—especially regarding the potential involvement of Killian Eris. The two also discuss the details of the case, including the discovery of bone shards in the stab wound on the body of Ms. Fletcher. She says that she will do what she can, but it is not her case—that could take some time. Dillon warns Sabrina that they believe Eris will kill again on the 30th—the next full moon. After their discussion, Dillon sees her out.

North Portland, Jack Sigo’s House

Jack Sigo lives in an older, industrial neighborhood of NoPo. Yuriko and Dillon arrive to an older home with a battered Jeep Cherokee parked out front. A middle-aged Native American man answers the door with Southern Comfort on his breath. Sigo genially invites them inside and offers them a drink, stating that “Paul” (Elder Eaglestaff) has told him about them. They discuss the Eris situation at length. They also discuss the various ways that they could find where Eris is performing his ritual. Sigo believes that if they found a place of power that he could sense it, but without a lead as to where to look, they’d end up combing the entire mountain.

Dillon texts Sabrina regarding the details of Danielle Fletcher’s death on Mount Hood. Then he calls Tom Casing to get the actual location where Fletcher’s body was found. Tom sends an image of a diagram of the mountain and the body’s location to Yuriko‘s phone. Dillon then contacts Sabrina again to get her to focus on Eris and Hutton, versus Danielle Fletcher (as they already have the information they need from Tom). Sigo agrees to take Dillon and Yuriko out to the mountain tomorrow to visit the site where Fletcher’s body was found and to look for Eris’ ritual site.

October 22, 2012

Mount Hood

Dillon and Yuriko take a cab out to Jack Sigo’s place and the three load up into his battered, old Jeep Cherokee and head to the mountain.

They take one of the trails as high as they can go in the Jeep and then park to get out and hike up to the ridge where Danielle Fletcher’s body was found. Once on the ridge, Jack sits down and meditates for a time, mumbling softly to himself. After a few minutes of contemplation, the Elder rises and starts leading them up a trail. After a few false turns and double-backs, the trail eventually leads them to a large fissure in the side of the mountain. Dillon goes inside, undeterred by the darkness thanks to his preternatural senses.

Inside the fissure, Dillon finds a chamber with a worn stone table at its center. There are bloodstains on the table. The walls have been painted somewhat recently with various whirls and symbols. Dillon goes out and borrows Yuriko‘s phone to take pictures of the symbols on the walls. Jack’s questions about how Dillon is able to see inside without a flashlight go unanswered. Dillon returns with pictures of the cave paintings. These he shows to Jack, who identifies them as ancient symbols of earth and of breaking. He believes that what Eris is doing is breaking powerful elemental seals, seals meant to be kept closed by the rituals performed by the Elders each moon. That it is of earth could explain the earthquakes—he succeeded in breaking the earth seal with the death of Danielle Fletcher. He will continue to work on the others until whatever power is here is no longer held in check.

Dillon asks Jack what the Elders intend to do now about Eris. Will they work to stop him on their own? Let the police handle it? Let other outside forces handle it? Jack says that he will need to discuss this with the others—there has been no demonstration of such power in his generation. The three then make a beeline back to the Jeep and head down off the mountain and back into the city.

Northwest Portland, Powell’s Bookstore

Dillon and Yuriko find Aleister in the Rare Book Room in Powell’s. They offer to buy him a coffee for a bit of private conversation. He agrees, though it is obvious he has reservations.

The two ask him about how Wardens would react to a hypothetical situation such as has arisen with Killian Eris. Would they allow the police to simply handle the murders involved our would they step in directly and hold the practitioner? Can the police hold a practitioner? The former Warden tells them that the Wardens would act as both judge and executioner in such a case and that what is taking place in the hypothetical situation clearly violates the Laws of Magic. Whether or not the person would stand before the White Council or be executed on site depends upon the situation at hand and the Warden in question. Further, Aleister intimated that there are connections between the White Council and the Police Bureau. Further, he indicated that whether a practitioner could be held by the police varied according to the type of magic the practitioner specializes in. However, as they did not have access to many of the accoutrements of magic, it would be difficult for them to perform any rituals of much power from behind prison walls. The two thank the old man for his time and leave the bookstore.

Northwest Portland

As Dillon and Yuriko make their way toward Yuriko’s apartment, Sabrina Manheim calls Dillon. There is apparently a Missing Person’s file open on a Benjamin Hutton. It’s been five days since the man reported to work and one of his co-workers became worried and filed the report. She sends a picture of Hutton to Yuriko’s phone—it’s a match for the man that Dillon encountered the previous day, but with a couple of exceptions. In the photo, which was obviously taken at some office event, Hutton doesn’t look creepy at all—he seems downright happy. Further, he seems to have blue eyes instead of the intensely green ones that started at Dillon with such dark amusement in the alleyway. Sabrina also informs him that when detectives searched Hutton’s downtown home, they found a hidden door behind a bookcase that lead into a secret basement. Inside the basement, they found various occult paraphernalia and a pentagram painted upon the floor. She indicates that she can take him there tomorrow as a consultant, if Tom gives the okay—she doesn’t want to step on his toes with his occult consultant.

Once Dillon gets off the phone with Sabrina, he calls Reverend Buxman. He has Yuriko send him the photo of Hutton that Sabrina had provided. He then tells the priest about Hutton’s secret basement and the pentagram found within it. He also tells the priest about the apparent change in eye color. Is there anything he can think of that would change a person that distinctly?

Obviously shaken, Reverend Buxman says that, yes, he has encountered such a thing before. Some twenty years ago, with a fifteen-year-old boy named Daniel Holloway. The boy was possessed by a demon called Athralanax. He and his partner, a Reverend Beauvais, had exorcised the creature from the boy. While possessed, he underwent numerous physical changes—including a change in eye color. He warns Dillon to be careful of using the creature’s name and that he must immediately contact Reverend Beauvais. Dillon asks him what to expect of this possessed man. Buxman answers that he will be strong and quick and very cunning. He then hangs up so that he can contact Beauvais.

Now Yuriko’s phone rings—it is her cousin, Hana. She wants Yuriko to meet her new boyfriend, Armando. Can they swing by tonight on their way to the club? Yuriko says sure, they can come by around 7:00. She and Dillon continue on to her apartment, where they discuss these latest developments.

Northwest Portland, Yuriko’s Apartment

At 7:00 pm, someone rings the bell at Yuriko’s apartment. She answers the door to find her cousin Hana and an attractive Latino man standing in her doorway.

“Yuriko, this is Armando. My boyfriend.”

Armando takes Yuriko’s hand and kisses it. “It is a pleasure,” he says.

Yuriko invites the two inside while Hana insists that they can’t stay long; they are on their way to The Zoo. Apparently the two met there a couple of weeks ago—which would mean they met soon after Hana had arrived in Portland. They have been dating exclusively for the past few days.

Dillon gets a bad vibe off of Armando. He notices that the man’s eyes keep flicking to Dillon’s crucifix. Acting on a hunch, Dillon announces that he and Yuriko would like to come to The Zoo with them. They can all hang out together. This is obviously not something that Hana or Armando had planned on but they accept Dillon’s suggestion politely. Yuriko follows Dillon’s lead.

Northeast Portland, The Zoo

They all load up into Armando’s small sports car and head out to The Zoo.

The club, as usual, is very full and busy, but Armando manages to get them all past the long line of club-goers eagerly seeking entrance.

The group makes their way to one of the few available booths in the club. Dillon offers to get everyone drinks. He goes to the bar, gets everyone’s drink orders and then surreptitiously puts a dose of his saliva into Hana’s beverage. He brings the drinks back to the booth and distributes them. Hana takes a single sip of her drink and then goes a little dizzy and passes out.

Everyone is surprised and concerned for Hana. Dillon insists that they need to go and they’ll take Hana with them. He’s going to call for a ride. Armando is indignant, saying that he can take them to a hospital if they need to go, he’s right here. Dillon insists on calling for another ride. As Armando protests, offended, Dillon tells Yuriko to get Sabrina on the line. Yuriko does so, asking her to pick them up from the club and makes a point of indicating that Sabrina was a police detective. The entire time, Dillon and Armando eyeball each other.

As everyone rises to leave, Armando continues to protest. He doesn’t understand why they do not allow him to help. Dillon tells him “You need to get another mark.” Armando seems mystified. “You know what I’m talking about. Leave her alone.” He and Yuriko manage to maneuver Hana out of the club and wait near the valet parking area for Sabrina. Armando continues to push his way through the crowd toward them.

Finally, Sabrina arrives. The two friends carry Hana to the car and get inside, with Dillon sitting in the passenger seat. He points Armando out to Sabrina as he continues to make his way toward them. The detective takes a look at him and goes visibly pale. Then she turns the car and bolts from the parking lot as fast as she can.

Obviously concerned and confused, Dillon asks Sabrina what’s going on. She is pale and breathing heavy. “That was him. The one on the docks that night. The one that attacked me.”

Visibly shaken himself, realizing that he had stood up to a full-blood Red Court Vampire, Dillon tells Sabrina to take them to the church where they can regroup. . .

Side Job: Book of Shadows (continued)
Part Three

November 5, 2012

Angelica reported to work on-time at the Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church to work in the food pantry. Several experienced volunteers wasted no time in putting her to work. The food pantry was actually pretty busy—a steady stream of patrons came in while Angelica worked at both the public counter and at stocking the shelves. Eventually, she was offered a break, during which she went to the sanctuary to examine the engraved door she had encountered on her earlier visit.

As she examined the door for any clue to what it was protecting, she was approached by Reverend Buxman.

“Hello, Ms. Underwood. Are you enjoying working at our food pantry?”

“I am, thank you.” Looking at the door, Angelica murmured “It is reassuring to know that the church is so devoted to protecting others.”

The Reverend quirked an eyebrow. “Yes, it is the part of the mission of this church to offer sanctuary and protection to our parishioners.” Looking at Angelica and again at the door, the priest sighed. “What really brings you to this sanctuary, Ms. Underwood?”

Angelica looked the priest in the eye and said, “Trying to protect others from evil.”

“I see. Shall we return to the pantry?” He stepped aside to allow her to pass and then two walked back to the mission wing of the church. Buxman excused himself to discuss the day’s business with the more experienced volunteers and took his leave of Angelica.

Angelica worked for the rest of the day in the pantry and ended up signing up for more hours during every day of the following week.

Returning to her car, she looked around to see if Fadil was still following but caught no sign of him. She then drove to the library to do some research on the Gnostics.

She didn’t learn much. Only that the Gnostics were comprised of a variety of pre-Christian and early-Christian sects that worked to achieve “gnossis” or a direct experience of God. Some were believed to be practitioners of magic, using spells and symbology to achieve their goals. Her research made her ponder the possibility of the power of the truly faithful and their ability to counteract and protect against the magic that she knew was real. Was there a divine power that could be used to protect whatever this book was that the Shrouded One wanted? She didn’t know. There was still a long gap between having the knowledge of the nature of spirits and ghosts and belief in the divine. Disappointed in her lack of answers, she returned home and went to bed.

November 6, 2012

Angelica reported back to the pantry first thing in the morning. Everyone seemed to be ill at ease. She finally heard from one of the volunteers why: apparently there was a break-in at the church the previous night. One of the priests, Father Tyler, was injured during the break-in. Father Buxman had spent most of the morning speaking with the police.

During her break, Angelica sought out Reverend Buxman’s office. She found him inside with the door open, reading.

“Hello, Reverend. I’ve been thinking about what you had said before, about God placing people in each other’s paths. . .”

“Yes, come in Ms. Underwood. Have a seat.” He motioned to one of the empty chairs in front of his cluttered desk and put away his book.

Angelica sat. “I heard that there was a break-in here last night. That a priest has been hurt.”

Buxman nodded. “Yes, unfortunately Father Tyler was severely beaten. Whoever broke in failed to steal anything or do anything else. It was quite an unfortunate incident.”

“One of the tenets I live by is to never let people get hurt.”

“An admirable tenet, but I don’t see how you could have protected Father Tyler or how you would be responsible.”

Angelica changed gears. “Were you aware of the Gnostic sigils in the sanctuary?”

The priest nodded. “Yes, those were inscribed by one of the founders of the church back in 1919. He was a scholar of ancient texts. They represent protection, I believe. I’m surprised that you recognize them for what they are.”

“I do a fair amount of research in ancient texts, myself.”

After a quiet moment, Buxman sighed. “Ms. Underwood, I feel like you want to say something to me, but something is holding you back.”

Steeling herself, Angelica replied, “I’ve heard rumors that this church may be holding a particular book that those with ill intent may wish to obtain. The fact that a priest has been hurt seems to me to be an indication of how far someone would go to obtain it.”

“I’ll be honest with you, Ms. Underwood. The fact that you have been very curious about our church of late, and then your interest in that particular door in the sanctuary when it was that door where the attempted break-in occurred, make me very curious about your motives in this. Now you tell me of ‘rumors’ that you have heard and your concerns about one of my colleagues. It’s all very curious. Perhaps if you could tell me more about the source of these rumors?”

“That secret is not mine to tell—however there are those concerned about the artifact falling into the wrong hands. Part of the reason I came to the church specifically was because I believe that a force, an evil is looking for something here.”

Reverend Buxman steepled his fingers in front his face. “I believe, as I said, that people can be brought together by God for a reason. But my faith tells me that, though these coincidences say otherwise, you are not responsible for what happened here last night. I can assure that the Church has protected secrets and artifacts for millennia. Can you give me any information to help us in this?”

Angelica nodded. “A person known as ‘The Shrouded One’ is looking for a book here. I know that he is willing to send others after it and that it is important that he not get it, whatever it is.”

“‘The Shrouded One’?”

“I know very little else about him. I don’t know what book he’s looking for, or what he hopes to find inside it, but I know that his motives are not on the side of good.”

“Is that what you hope to accomplish here? To warn me of this?”

“I was hoping to ascertain if there is truth to what I have heard—if there is a book here that he might be after and whether or not it needed protection.”

Reverend Buxman simply blinked at Angelica, saying nothing. She tried another direction.

“Does Father Tyler know who or what attacked him?”

“He did not see his attacker.”

“The attacker came up behind him?”

“It’s. . . unclear.”

“The Shrouded One often sends others to do his work.”

The priest gave her a fatherly smile. “I can assure that if this ‘Shrouded One’ is looking for anything at Saint Andre’s, it is well-protected.”

“Does the church have the protection to ensure that the attacker doesn’t come back?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that whatever this creature wants here si well-protected by the church, but it stil sent someone or something and it attacked one of your priests. Can you ensure that won’t happen again?”

Buxman frowned. “You seem to know more about our attacker than I. You tell me. Will they strike again?”

Angelica nodded. “He’s going to keep trying—that is my fear. But I don’t know what he thinks is here in order to get a sense of how or why he is doing this or what he is capable of to obtain it.”

Buxman pursed his lips. “Ms. Underwood. You’ve come to my church under suspicious circumstances and give me nothing but rumors and vague threats as to reasons for your behavior. Then you wish me to reveal secrets which are not mine to give in order to help alleviate your fears of what is to come. I do not understand why you need to know what the church is protecting or why I should give that information to you.”

“If I know what it might be looking for then perhaps we will know its nature. I’ve encountered its handiwork twice.”

“Handiwork? It seems to me that that would give you more of a clue to its nature.”

“Both times it involved interfering with the dead. My only guess is that there is something that it thinks will be helpful in this regard.”

As the priest thoughtfully stroked his upper lip, Angelica was struck by the fact that he did not seem incredulous regarding her assertion about the dead. Perhaps he knew more than he was letting on. . .

Finally Buxman said, “The dead. That is an interesting assertion.”

“You didn’t seem surprised.”

“I know that evil comes in many guises. How would knowing what it si allow you to protect others?”

“Its true pupose, its abilities, its ambitions. All of these will help. He has only recently surfaced as a threat. Things seem to be stirring in this city.”

“I agree. Things have been stirring. If I give you this secret, will it be yours alone?”


“That was quick.”

“It was honest. Those that have pointed me in this direction are concerned about the city as well.”

“We are at an impasse. You want information that I am reluctant to give and give me know compelling reason to do so. You even assert that you would share this information.” The priest sighed. “You have to understand, while evil comes in many guises, there are those would do harm in the name of good.”

Angelica nodded. “I understand.”

Buxman continued. “You say he is associated with the dead?”


Rubbing his eyes, the priest nodded. “When the church was founded, we were given the duty to protect a grimoire. A book of spells, if you will. It is called ‘The Book of Shadows’ and contains a variety of rituals and practices of a dark nature. Included in the book is a ritual to summon a being known only as ‘He Who Rises’. It is possible that this Shrouded One seeks out The Book of Shadows.”

“Since we’re being honest, how was Father Tyler attacked? Was he physically attacked by someone he couldn’t see? Or was he psychically attacked?”

“Physically assaulted by a presence—according to him, it was semi-transparent and glowed in the darkness.”

“Was he assaulted by any emotion that was not his own?”

“Nothing like that—he was physically beaten to unconsciousness.”

“When did this occur?”

“Around midnight.”

“Did anyone else see or hear?”

The priest shook his head. “No.”

Angelica took a deep breath. “Frankly, it sounds like he is sending the dead after you to secure this book.”

“If so, then you should know that the Church represents the triumph of life over death. We can protect against such attacks.”

Angelica rose from her seat. “You have entrusted me with some great secrets, I will trust you with one. If you need help against the dead, I can help.”

Buxman shook his head. “No. Focus your efforts on finding this Shrouded One. I believe the Church has the advantage in the fight of life versus death.”

She handed him her business card. “Contact me anytime.”

The priest nodded as Angelica left. “God be with you.”

Her mind was filled with trepidation as she drove home, with no sign of Fadil following.

Side Job: Book of Shadows (cont'd)
Part Two

November 4, 2012 (cont’d)

The PIPs squad and Angelica arrived on the twelfth floor without much fanfare. The elevator opened into the intersection of two corridors. Charlie set up their equipment in the intersection while Gemma applied sensors to the walls down one of the corridors. The corridors were dim, lit only by a weathered skylight and a series of running lights applied to the floors of the hall. As Angelica waited, she felt a cold draft waft across her skin. She then heard a male’s voice whisper “It’s not fair. . .”

A series of beeps issued from Charlie’s gear. “We have a cold spot,” he said.

“He whispered to me,” said Angelica. “He said ’It’s not fair.’”

Charlie smirked. “Well, I don’t know about that. But I definitely read a temperature drop. Gemma, you and Simon split up. Take each of these corridors.”

“What about me?” Angelica asked.

“You can follow behind Simon. He’ll leave the doors open for you.”

Charlie handed Simon and Gemma keycards that he had obtained from the hotel manager. “These should get us inside each door.” He also issues everyone Bluetooth headsets that were apparently controlled by the apparatus he had set up.

As Gemma took one corridor, Angelica followed Simon down the other. He had some sort of video recorder mounted on his shoulder and a boom-light out ahead of him. She let him explore a room and then came along behind him when he left. The going was slow, but thorough.

In 1215, Angelica was turning to leave the room when a shadowy form manifested in front of her. It was a male, wearing pajama bottoms. She heard “It’s not fair. . . It was only a bit of fun. . .” She called Simon inside, but that time the manifestation had disappeared again, leaving only a cold spot behind.

As the team made their way slowly back down the hall, they heard a sharp report sound over the Bluetooth and Gemma mutter angrily “What are doing here anyway?”

“Just be patient, Gemma. We may not find anything this time,” Charlie said.

“Dammit, don’t patronize me, Charlie,” Gemma growled.

Angelica asked Simon if this was normal behavior for Gemma; Simon said no.

“It’s so cold in here,” Gemma said as Simon and Angelica caught up to her.

“Definitely reading a cold spike,” Simon confirmed.

Angelica explored the room while Simon tried to calm Gemma down. She found nothing but the cold.

“All right, split back up and lets finish this place up,” Charlie ordered.

The team split back up, with each side taking the rooms the other had just gone through, double-checking everything.

In 1237, Angelica felt another breath of cold air and the male voice whisper “She got what she needed. . .”

She went to Simon to tell him what she’d experienced and he snarled “Why don’t you just back off!” Both were standing in an icy draft at the time.

Charlie called over the Bluetooth, “Okay, okay, lets regroup at the center.”

Everyone returned to the entryway onto the floor. “Well, gang. We haven’t got much. Just a couple of cold spots,” Charlie said.

“Oh, he’s here all right. He spoke to me,” Angelica said. “And I think he’s angry.”

“Well, we don’t have anything on tape. Nothing tangible. Sorry, but we need more than your hearing voices.”

“Nevertheless, he’s here. And he’s only going to get worse. I want to talk to him again.”

“Don’t you want the camera with you?”

“No, I really don’t.”

Simon asked, “Don’t you want people to believe you?”

“I’m not really worried about that. People find me if they need me.”

“Fine,” Charlie said. “The rest of you, let’s load up.”

As the others began loading up their gear, Angelica called out to the angry spirit.

“Jonathan Sundry!”

Suddenly, she was buffeted by a cold wind and felt the grip of anger on her heart. The spirit of Jonathan Sundry screamed in her ear. “It’s not fair! It was only a bit of fun!”

“The man that did this is dead. He paid for crime! Fiona divorced him!”

“Was that her name?” The spirit chuckled as it continued to try and attack Angelica’s psyche.

“You need to go! You don’t belong here anymore!” She placed all of her conviction in her heart in the wrongness of his being here, hoping to force him back into the Nevernever.

No dice.

“It’s not fair!” the spirit shrieked as it exited the corridor in a wave of cold anger.

Angelica turned to the others who all stared at her in astonishment.

Charlie frowned. “And you didn’t want a camera on you. Do you realize how many believers are ridiculed for their belief without any evidence? Do you realize how much that would have helped?”

“That’s not why I do this. I do this because I can and to help ease the suffering of others. Not to prove anyone’s theory or belief.”

They all rode the elevator back downstairs.

“So, did you see it?” Charlie asked.

“I heard it.”

“No cameras. No equipment. You know, lady, lots a of believers are ridiculed every day because they have no proof of what they say. Why should we believe you?”

“If you don’t believe me, believe this. This is serious. That spirit is consumed with anger and its manifestations will only grow worse with time.”

Downstairs, they met the manager.

“And. . .” he said.

“We didn’t get much,” Charlie said.

Angelica interrupted. “You have a very angry spirit up there.” Charlie‘s stare shot daggers at the medium. Angelica continued. "There are two options to get rid of him. I may be able to convince him to go on his own. If that doesn’t work, it may rile him. In that case, I’ll have to make more preparations and return."

The manager turned to Charlie, who answered. “That’s not our forte, sir. We just investigate and gather evidence. She’s not with us. If you want to get rid of this spirit, you’re going to have to go with her or someone else.”

The manager turned back to Angelica. “Let’s try and convince it.”

Angelica turned to the others. “Do we have any information about Jonathan Sundry?”

“Not much,” Simon said. "Just that he was a traveling salesman who had a tryst with one of the chambermaids, a Fiona Watley. She was married to one of the bellmen at the time, a Samuel West, who found out about the tryst and shot Sundry on the twelfth floor. "

“Traveling salesman,” Angelica mused. “Interesting. . .”

Once again, Angelica found herself on the twelfth floor. She stood in intersection of corridors, gathering her inner strength for the task at hand. The others milled about and watched.

" Jonathan Sundry! " she called. “Come out, Mr. Sundry!”

A shadowy form of a man in pajama bottoms appeared before. She is gripped by an icy blast of anger, but Angelica managed to push past the emotional onslaught and found her voice.

“Jonathan. It’s time to move on. To the next place. It’s not fair! You should have to suffer here! Move on!” She gripped firmly on her knowledge of him as a traveling salesman, a wanderer, a man who moves on when it is time. Then she gave him a gentle, psychic “push” in the right direction. “It’s time to go!”

Finally, the vision fades away and the room is empty.

Sighing heavily, Angelica turned to the others. “It’s done.”

The group rode the elevator back down to the lobby and met the hotel manager.

“Well?” the hotel manager asked. “Is it done?”

Angelica nodded. The skinny man eagerly shook all of their hands and thanked them for their help. As she helped the others load equipment back into the PIPs van, Simon asked her if she wanted to join them. They could use the help. Angelica hesitates but then Charlie steps in and says, “I don’t think that would be a good idea. What she does is different that what we do.”

Angelica nodded. “Yeah, thanks. But here.” She gave Charlie one her business cards. “If you ever need me, give me a call.”

On her way back to her car, Angelica was intercepted by Jean Ling. “So, what happened?”

“I convinced him to move on.”

“That’s wonderful! How much do I owe you?”

Angelica shook her head. “On the house. He needed to go.”

Jean shook the other woman’s hand and the two parted ways. “See you in the forums!” Jean said as she bounced away.

Finally, Angelica made it to her car. Looking up, she noticed a familiar sedan waiting on one of the nearby side streets. Setting her jaw, she stormed up to the car and rapped on the window. Detective Fadil rolled it down.

“Why are you following me?”

" Because even though we’ve been taken off the case, Tim Mulligan is still missing. I think you know more than you’re telling. I need to find that boy. "

Angelica‘s anger cooled in the light of the detective’s honesty.

“I hope you find him.”

“Do you, Ms. Underwood?”

With that, Angelica returned to her car and drove home.

Side Job: Book of Shadows
Part One

November 1, 2012

“Bye! Have a great day!”

Angelica ushered out her last client of the day. She had been seeing a boom in her business of late and today was no exception. Between the pressures of the sagging economy and the strange earthquakes that were rocking Portland down from Mount Hood, people seemed to be in desperate need of stress relief. Angelica rubbed some lotion on her tired hands and sighed in relief. Just as she settled into her easy chair, she heard a rap at her door.

Standing in the late afternoon mist was Leilani Capstone. Moisture rose off of her grey Warden’s cloak. “May I come in?”

Flustered, Angelica stepped out of her way and stammered “Um, yes, of course.”

The Warden stepped inside and unclipped her sword sheath from the belt beneath her cloak before sitting down on the sofa. Angelica took the easy chair.

" The White Council has a task for you. " The Warden was never one for small talk. " We managed to retrieve some information from the necromancer, Tim Mulligan, that you turned over to us. Apparently this being known only as ‘The Shrouded One’ wanted Mulligan to retrieve a book for him. The book is located in the church of Saint Andre Bessette. The Council wants you to find out what book this is, why this ‘Shrouded One’ would want it, and if it needs to be in the custody of the Council. "

Angelica blinked. “I see. Do we have any more information that I can use to go on?”

“No. And our interrogations were quite thorough, I can assure you.”

The ectomancer nodded. The Warden continued.

“We’ve come to you because you’re already involved and, frankly, with the current situation, I can’t be everywhere at once.”

“Current situation?”

" The War. With the Red Court. Fortunately, there has never been a great deal of Red activity in Portland, thus my services were needed in Eugene. Speaking of which, speak with Kendria in the Alberta district. She may have some information for you on protecting yourself. She has a shop called New Horizons. "

The Warden rose and re-attached her sword to her belt and headed to the door. As Angelica opened the door for her, she turned to the ectomancer and said, “Oh, one more thing. You should not be bothered by any other visits from the police regarding this matter.” Then she exited the house.

Angelica sighed and settled into her chair once again. A war with vampires? The White Council wants her to investigate this? It was a lot to take in. She called Lau Hu Chen, but he said it was not good time to talk. He sounded stressed. Probably family issues.

Her computer pinged, indicating an incoming invitation to a chat room. It was from user ChinaDoll7, a frequent poster to some of the paranormal forums that Angelica frequented. Apparently ChinaDoll7 worked for an unnamed hotel that was reputed to be haunted. She posted various disturbances that guests have reported and seemed to be interested in the paranormal “scene”. Angelica logged in as Silvercircle3 and entered the chat room.

ChinaDoll7 wasted no time. “Do you do paranormal investigations?”

Angelica hesitated a moment before answering, “Yes.”

“Good. My hotel has had a lot of activity lately and people are starting to get worried. Can we meet?”

“We can meet . . .”

“Tomorrow lunch?”

The two arranged to meet at a local restaurant for lunch. ChinaDoll7 indicated that she would be an Asian woman in a blue hat. Angelica replied that, to live up to the stereotype, she’d be in black.

After logging out of the chat room, Angelica decided to pay Kendria a visit. She had visited with the woman before—they ran in a lot of the same circles. Kendria was into aromatherapy and Reiki treatments and both were licensed massage therapists. Kendria was also a practitioner, an alchemist, to be exact. So Angelica got in her car and drove over to Alberta.

Angelica entered New Horizons as another patron was leaving.

“Hi, Angelica! It’s been a while. I have some great new oils you might be interested in. . . " Kendria was a pretty, fit young woman with brown dreadlocks and an infectious smile.

“No, thank you. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to talk about more. . . private. . .matters. "

The other woman walked over to the door and locked it, and then turned over the CLOSED sign in the window.

“Okay. I’m all ears.”

“I need something for protection.”

“Physical or more mystical? I don’t really do wards, but. . . "

“Physical protection.”

“Angelica, is someone trying to hurt you?”

“No, nothing like that. Not yet, anyway.”

" Okay. You have to be careful out there. I don’t know if you heard, but the White Council is at war with the Red Court. For now, I’d travel with a friend if I were you. "

Angelica smiled. “I usually do, but he was busy tonight. And yes, that’s why I want something protective.”

“Come on.” Kendria took Angelica to the back room of the shop. “Some of us are banding together to join something called the Paranet. Have you heard of it?” Angelica shook her head as Kendria continued. “They have groups in Chicago and New York and few other places. Where people like us can protect ourselves when the Council can’t.”

“So has this group formed yet?”

" No, not yet. We had a preliminary meeting at Edgefield, but we were attacked by a pack of Reds. "

Angelica was taken aback. Edgefield was Accorded Neutral Ground in the supernatural community. “Was anyone hurt? I thought that place would be warded.”

" A few were injured. A couple of us killed. We were lucky that it was just a lightning raid of some sort. Probably to send a message. As for the wards, some think they were sabotaged. Solomon is not happy "

“Who’s Solomon?”

" Solomon Chalmers. Caretaker at the Edgefield. "


“So, about that protection.” Kendria pulled a vial off one of her many shelves. “This is Red Court Antivenom. If you take a dose, you should be able to stave off the effects of their venom, for at least a short time.”

“That would be helpful, thanks.”

Kendria sighed. “You do realize, of course, that this is how I make my living.”

Angelica wanted that vial, but wasn’t sure that she could afford it, it being a fairly rare and hard to manufacture substance. Angelica pleaded her case to the other woman, who relented and said that she could have the mixture in exchange for a favor later. Angelica agreed.

Kendria told her that she would contact her with the next Paranet get-together, if the community can regroup. Angelica said thanks and left the shop.

November 2, 2012

Angelica walked through of one of her favorite restaurants, looking for her contact. She didn’t have to wait long before she spotted an attractive, Asian woman, about her same age, sitting in a booth wearing a cute, blue floppy hat. The woman extended her hand before Angelica sat.


“Call me Angelica.”

" I’m Jean. Jean Ling. "

The two shook hands and Jean took a seat across from her black-clad contact.

“You know that my hotel has had a fair amount of strange activity. Enough that it has a reputation. Until now, that reputation has actually brought in more customers than it has scared off. But now, the management is starting to worry that there may be something wrong with the building. They’re not willing to say what—but just that something is wrong.”

“What hotel is it?”

" The Miranda. It’s in Old Town. Anyway, it’s going to be closed this Sunday for ‘reasons’. The management won’t say why. So I figure that I can get you inside to take a look and, well, do what you do. "

Angelica nodded. “Tell me more about these incidents.”

" Well, it’s mostly cold spots and stuff like that. Rather benign, just more of it. It all takes place on the twelfth floor. That’s why most of the old timer’s think it’s Jonathan Sundry. He was murdered on the twelfth floor back in the 1920s. It was a bit of a scandal because he was sleeping with one of the porter’s wife at the time and the porter found out and shot him. "

“Do you know who shot him?”

Jean shook her head. “No, just one of the hotel’s employees. So, are you willing to help?”

Angelica smiled. “Of course.”

“Great! How much will I owe you?”

“We’ll talk about that later.”

The two agreed to meet on Sunday morning about 8 a. m. on a nearby corner to The Miranda. Jean will then lead the way to a staff entrance and get Angelica inside, near the stairwell. The two shook hands and left the restaurant.

As Angelica made her way to her car, she got the distinct feeling that she was being watched. She looked around, trying to see if someone was following her, but saw nothing. Disconcerted, she got in her car and headed to Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church.

Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church was a church known for its missions against poverty and homelessness. Angelica found a line of homeless people going into one of its side entrances, with traffic being directed by a priest. She headed toward the main entrance into the sanctuary.

Inside, she approached a young priest about getting a tour of the building. He told her that such a tour would be unusual, but he may be able to arrange for her to be shown the public areas of the facility. She then mentioned the food pantry and other ministries and was told that these were facilitated by Reverend Buxman. The young priest seemed please to be able to pass Angelica over to the older the priest.

Buxman was a kindly, older man, busily directing a lot of the chaos in the mission area of the church. Angelica was introduced and inquired about having a tour of the facility and in volunteering to help at the pantry.

“That would be most generous of you, Ms. Underwood, to volunteer your time so. I believe that God has a plan for everyone. Perhaps this is your calling.”

“Perhaps. I do like to help people.”

“As far as a tour, would you be able to return tomorrow? As you can see, I have my hands a bit full today.”

“That will be fine.”

“Good. Here is the number of my secretary. Contact her to arrange for volunteer hours at the pantry.”

Number in hand, Angelica headed out. She did not have a sense of being watched anymore, but figured that if anyone was watching her, all they saw was that she visited a church.

Before heading home, Angelica decided to stop off at the library to do some research about the Jonathan Sundry case. He was apparently shot by a man named Samuel West, who later received life imprisonment for the crime. It was described as a crime of passion, but there were very few details in the old papers.

Finally, Angelica visited with a local security company and had a basic security system installed on her home. Nothing fancy, but enough to give her some piece of mind against intruders.

November 3, 2012

As Angelica parked her car on the street near Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church, she noticed that a car had been following her. It continued down the street and passed her. She didn’t recogonize the vehicle, but she did recognize the man behind the wheel—Detective Walter Fadil. This was the detective that had questioned her about the disappearance of Tim Mulligan. The one who the Warden had said would not be bothering her anymore. Leaving that problem for later, she walked up to the church to meet with Reverend Buxman.

She met the Reverend in the sanctuary. After exchanging pleasantries, the older man took the young woman by the arm and escorted her about the premises. The church had opened in 1919 and had a lot of history in the community as a mission-oriented church. After about half an hour, the Reverend had shown her most of the administrative areas as well as the various missions of the church, including their art program. Angelica asked him specifically about the church’s library and she was shown the administrative library—a small room stocked with high shelves and a small internet-ready computer. Disappointed that she seemed to be no closer to her goal of finding the book, she nevertheless took the tour in stride and even volunteered to work in the food pantry the following Monday. Pleased, Buxman got her information and gave him his card.

As she walked from the sanctuary back out into the street, Angelica caught the glimpse of some strange writings in the older door frames in the sanctuary area. She made a mental note of the carvings and made her way back to her car.

Getting back home, Angelica conducted some research on the glyphs she saw in the door frame at the church. She concluded that they were ancient Gnostic sigils of warding and protection. But what were they protecting? And how?

November 4, 2012

After getting up early and finishing breakfast, Angelica made her way toward her meeting withJean Ling.

She parked her car in front of a shop a few blocks from the rendezvous point. She didn’t know if she was still being followed by Fadil or not but she didn’t want to take that chance and get Jean into trouble. She wandered into the shop, hoping that Fadil would take notice. Then, before she left again, she gathered a small amount of power about her and shaped into a veil that snapped into place as she left the shop. Light bent around her in a way that shielded her from sight. She maintained the veil as she moved down the street, trying to avoid fellow pedestrians while concentrating on her spell. After about a block, she ducked into an alley and released her hold on the powers of spirits, disrupting the spell. Hopefully that would fool her surveillance detail. She then hurriedly walked down the alley toward her meeting with Jean.

Jean was at the corner, just like she said she would be. She explained again to Angelica that she would get the investigator into the hotel’s twelfth floor and that she could look around if she wanted to, but they probably wouldn’t have much time. What would she do if she got caught? Jean frowned. “All right, then,” she said. “I’ll come with you. Take full responsibility for you being there. It’s the only thing to do.” As they made their way down street to The Miranda, they saw that a van had pulled up with a bright logo: " PIPs: Portland Investigators of the Paranomal. "

Three people hopped about the van, bringing out equipment. A fourth person, probably a very nervous hotel manager, paced on the sidewalk.

“That’s my boss,” Jean said. “So that’s why they closed the hotel. Did you still want to go in?”

Angelica nodded. “I do.” PIPs had a bit of a reputation in the online communities. Earnest, but amateur. She didn’t think that they could she what she would be able to. She truly wanted to help Jean and her employers as well as the distressed spirit himself. She wanted to do what she did best.

She turned to Jean. “Thanks. I’ll take it from here. No need for you to get in trouble. I’ll let you know what I find out.”

Jean smiled. “Okay. Be careful.” Then she walked away down the street, away The Miranda.

Angelica took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and walked up to the large man with a metal cane who seemed to be in charge. If her online contacts were any indication, this would be Charlie Huffman—ex-firefighter and paranormal investigator. She stuck out her hand to the large man, who took and shook it firmly.

“My name is Angelica Underwood. I was wondering if I could help?”

“I think we have it covered, Ms. Underwood. Simon, go ahead and grab the temperature sensors.”

“I have certain. . .talents. . .that could be of use here.”

Another of the PIPs team, a young bookish woman asked. “Are you a medium or something?”

Angelica nodded. “Yes. Something like that.”

Charlie interrupted. “That’s not our usual method. We want to pick up and detect evidence of physical manifestations. Then we refer people to folks like you if their into—well, that sort of thing.”

“Well, if anything, I can be an extra set of hands if you need it.” Angelica eyed the increasing stacks of equipment being piled out of the van.

Charlie sighed. “All right. But two things: I’m in charge and you stay out of the way.”

Angelica smiled. “Fair enough. In fact, if you don’t mind, I have no desire to show up on your cameras here. I want to be anonymous.”

Charlie nodded. “We can arrange that. Okay, then. grab that case and head inside.”

Side Job: Night Terrors

October 8, 2012

Angelica Underwood is working quietly at home when she is interrupted by a knock on her door. She answers the knock to find two Police Bureau detectives waiting; Detectives Fadil and Chu. She invites the two officers inside and they sit down to talk. Detective Fadil takes the lead.

" Do you know a Lorraine Price and a Ronnie Dawkins? "

“Yes, we’re acquaintances.”

" What about a Tim Mulligan? "

“Well, I know that Tim was Lorraine’s ex-boyfriend and that he would not leave her alone. That he was starting to get hostile.”

“Then perhaps you can explain the statements that I have that indicate that the last time Mr. Mulligan was seen was getting into your car on the night of October 5th?”

Angelica then explained that Tim was injured that night, in the altercation that occurred between him and Lorraine and Ronnie. She and Lau Hu tried to take Tim to a hospital or police station but he barreled out of the car at a stop light. She described an intersection near the theatre as Tim’s departure point. There have been no phone calls from Lorraine since that night so Angelica figured he had taken the hint and gone away.

Detective Fadil confirmed that the Asian man Angelica was seen was Lau Hu Chen and got his number from Angelica.

Seemingly satisfied with Angelica’s answers, the two detectives take their leave.

Moving quickly, Angelica texts Lau Hu. “Don’t answer the phone. Call me in 10 minutes.”

Then, the door bell rings. Angelica, a bit flustered, answers the door. Facing her is a young Asian man, maybe 16-17 years old, in a worn duster. “Was that the police? Because it looked like the police.”

Angelica says that it was.

“Are you Angelica?”

Angelica asserts that she is and asks who he is. " I’m Mike Ng. The spirits, uh, sent me. They said you could help. "

Angelica lets the young man into the house.

Mike settles in and explains that he was told that Angelica could help him with his unique problem. When asked by whom, he reluctantly admits, “Spirits. Ghosts.” Angelica reassures him that she believes him and asks him to go on.

Apparently two nights ago, Mike’s girlfriend Jaimie went with some friends to the Barton House, a reputedly haunted house in the Hawthorne district. They were planning to spend the night, but were run off by a series of manifestations. Jaimie was shaken up pretty badly. If the spirits in that house are angry enough to affect Jaimie and her friends so much, then Mike is afraid that they’ll be a danger to others. He wants Angelica to put the spirits of the house to rest.

Angelica has heard of the Barton House. According to local legend, Jerome Barton murdered his wife and baby in the house back in the 1930s. He allegedly dismembered his wife and hid her parts in the walls while hiding his child’s remains in the furnace. He then shot himself. Since then, the house has only been occupied by vagrants and the occasional teenager on a dare.

At this point, Angelica’s phone rings. It’s Lau Hu. She takes the call in another room. Sure enough, Lau Hu did get a call after her text from an unknown number. Angelica let’s him know that it was the police asking about Tim Mulligan. She tells him what she told Detective Fadil. Lau Hu says he doesn’t like lying to the police, that lying is dishonorable. But the repercussions of telling the truth would be too costly. He will corroborate Angelica’s story. She also lets him know that she may need his help, someone to watch her back. He says to give him a call when she needs him.

Angelica returns to Mike and tells him that she’d like to speak to Jaimie. He thinks she’ll speak to him and can set up a meet. Angelica gives Mike her number and reassures him that she’ll help. He wants to help as well—anything that “got into Jaimie’s head” needs to be dealt with. He wants to help his girlfriend. Angelica reluctantly says that he can come with her when she goes to the house. With that reassurance, Mike leaves.

Angelica then calls and leaves a voice mail with Leilani Capstone. She lets the Warden know that there have been “official” questions of the events of the other night. She takes care not to mention Tim Mulligan in her voice mail. She then does some research and confirms what she knows about the Barton House. Checking all of her paranormal message boards and other online sources, she finds no mention of outsized manifestations associated with the Barton House, nothing that matches the height of activity described by Mike. She also discovers that the Barton’s remains are interred at Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

October 9, 2012

The next morning, Mike calls Angelica and sets up a meeting with Jaimie at a coffee shop in Hawthorne at 3 pm. Angelica then goes to Mount Calvary to visit the graves of the Bartons. After a bit of a search through the huge grounds, she finds the graves of Jerome, Maggie, and little Toby. Strangely enough, she doesn’t sense any of spiritual energy around the graves—unlike what she usually experiences in graveyards.

Later, she picks up Lau Hu and heads out to meet with Mike and Jaimie.

The four meet a coffee shop in the Hawthorne district. Jaimie is a pretty, bookish girl who looks like she could use more sleep. Mike makes the introductions and Angelica asks her to tell her what happened at the Barton House.

The shy girl is hesitant at first, but tells her story simply and without embellishment. Apparently she joined another group of teens, lead by a boy named Andy, to spend the night in the house. They had all heard the stories over the years about it being haunted and Andy and his friend Chris wanted to check it out. Jaimie went along to keep her cousin, Dani, company. Dani is Andy’s girlfriend. Everything was normal, even a little boring, at first, but then things started happening. Blood dripped out of the walls. Strange noises were heard—like the crying of a baby and the screams of a woman. Nothing physical ever touched her but the house—and the presences she felt in it—grew to be too much for Jaimie. She was the first to leave the house, but she says that Dani told her that the others left soon after. Since then, Jaimie has not slept very well and has had nightmares.

Angelica asks her if any of the manifestations have occurred once she left the house. Jaimie says no, that they only occurred within the house. Angelica thanks the young girl for her story and she and Lau Hu leave, with Mike in tow.

Mike then takes them to the Barton House. It is late afternoon on a dreary October day. It is a two-story structure, obviously quite old and in disrepair. The windows and doors are boarded over with graffiti-covered slats of plywood. The yard is overgrown and brown. As Angelica approaches, she notes a distinct feeling of dread, a “bad vibe” that emanates from the house. She, Lau Hu, and Mike investigate the perimeter of the house, not finding much. They do find that one of the plywood boards has been partially pried away from the back door. This was probably where the others got into the house.

Angelica takes Lau Hu back home to Chinatown and takes Mike to her place. She wants to show him something, something he can do to protect himself. In the course of their conversation, Mike makes it clear that he wants to go into the house with Angelica and Lau Hu. But Angelica’s afraid that since the teen is already attuned to the spirits and has their attention that he could be a target of any maleficent spirits residing in the house. But the boy reminds her of a younger version of herself, so she relents—after making the boy promise to leave if Angelica says it’s too dangerous. She also teaches the young man how to make a magic circle. He takes the instruction in stride, trusting in Angelica’s knowledge of such things and that the spirits did tell him that she could help.

After teaching him to set the circle, Angelica decides that she needs to test its strength. She tells Mike to get ready to feel a “push” and gathers some spiritual energy to throw at the circle. She feels the resistance of the barrier, but some of the energy gets through and knocks the teenager over. Apologizing, she tells him to set the circle again. With an amazed expression, Mike asks her how she did that. She tells him not to worry about that, that it is a talent that she has and not to worry. Mike asks if she can teach him to do that and Angelica tells him that she can’t, that he doesn’t have that particular talent. She also elicits a promise from him to tell no one of her talent. Disappointed in not getting to learn how to “push”, Mike resets his circle. Once again, Angelica gathers some energy and casts it against the barrier. Once again, though there is resistance, some of the energy breaks through and strikes Mike. She decides that it will have to do; hopefully the circle will be strong enough to keep the spirits at bay if necessary, at least long enough to buy the boy some time.

Mike leaves, leaving Angelica alone with her thoughts and apprehensions about tomorrow.

October 10, 2012

Angelica and Lau Hu meet Mike outside the Barton House in the morning. Angelica parks her car about a block away and walks up to the house with Lau Hu. Together, the three go around to the back and enter the house through the pried-up plywood at the back door.

The group begins to explore the lower floor in earnest. The house is very dark, with all of its windows boarded up. The house itself is littered with old trash and debris. There is a stale, musty smell throughout the premises. There are also holes in the walls of various sizes where the sheetrock has either been knocked out or rotted away. An air of dread permeates the place, making the sensitive ectomancer and the young medium very apprehensive.

While searching out the living room, the temperature drops tens of degrees in a matter of seconds. Occasionally they hear the sound of a woman screaming. In the course of the search, Angelica is startled by a cat jumping from one of the holes in the walls. Looking further, she finds a set of finger bones lodged within the wall, which she takes. In searching the dilapidated kitchen, they see an old, dark stain covering the floor. The ectomancer also discovers a set of tools with the initials JB scratched into the handles. These she takes, thinking she might need to have something to connect her to the spirit of Barton later.

While exploring, they hear the cries of a baby coming from downstairs in the cellar. They make their way down to the low-ceilinged room. While there, they hear the cries coming from the furnace and the temperature rises inexplicably. The trio quickly makes their way out of the cellar.

Climbing the stairs to the second floor, they are stopped by the sight of blood springing forth from the walls. Mike is unnerved and tells them that he will meet them outside. Lau Hu and Angelica press on. In the master bedroom, they find a hole in the closet wall that has obviously been knocked out. The hole leads down into the wall of the living room where Angelica found the finger bones.

After checking out the various empty rooms of the top floor, they arrive at a pull-down trap door leading to the attic. Angelica cautiously climbs the steps of the ladder. Here she finds a wedding dress on a upright mannequin and a teddy bear lying on the ground. She also finds a hidden panel on the floor that has been opened. Inside she finds a tarnished silver cup, a paring knife etched with mystical symbols, and a sketchbook.

The sketchbook is filled with surreal images that progress from the innocuous to the disturbing. In the margins are mystical symbols and jottings that seem to indicate that the owner, Maggie Barton, was a legitimate magical practitioner. Further, the notes seem to indicate an increasing assertion by Maggie that Toby, her baby, had to die. Angelica also comes to the conclusion that the surreal sketches are indications that Maggie may have had the Sight. She is startled to learn that the last page of the sketchbook has been removed. Examining the area, she comes to the conclusion that whoever opened the secret panel has done so somewhat recently.

Angelica takes the sketchbook and makes her way back down the ladder.

As Lau Hu and Angelica make their way to the back of the house, a manifestation of a man periodically appears from nowhere and attempts to grab Angelica. She manages to dodge the touch of the spirit as they steadily head toward the exit. Finally, on the enclosed back porch, Angelica draws a circle about her and Lau Hu and calls out to Jerome.

" Show yourself, Jerome Barton. "

The disembodied spirit of a man appears in the room, outside the circle. It rushes toward Angelica and Lau Hu but is stopped by the unseen barrier.

“I know the truth, Jerome. About what happened with your son. I know what Maggie—not you—did.”

The spirit wails in despair. “My son! My wife!”

Then the spirit disappears.

Staying inside the circle, Angelica calls to Maggie. “Maggie Barton! Show yourself!”

The deformed manifestation of a woman emerges from the walls and flies toward Angelica’s circle. The barrier holds.

“I know what you did, Maggie. I know about Toby.”

The spirit shrieks. Angelica continues.

“Who was here, Maggie? Who stole the page from your notebook?”

The spirit wails and says, “We slept. We slept until he came. The Shrouded One. He came and disturbed us in our slumber.”

“Why, Maggie? Why did he disturb you?”

The spirit shrieks again and flies into the walls.

Angelica and Lau Hu exit the circle then the house, meeting Mike outside.

The three then head out and have lunch at a local noodle house.

Angelica discusses with the others what she has decided to do. She will return to the Barton house in a week and attempt to force the spirit of Maggie to rest through a ritual, sending her spirit back to the Nevernever.

Mike asks if he can help, and Angelica says no. She will take the time to make preparations for the ritual. She takes Mike and Lau Hu home and returns to her sanctum to begin.

October 17, 2012

Over the past seven days, Angelica prepares for her ritual. First she goes out to gather the physical supplies for her ritual: candles, herbs, and the like. Next she consults her various supernatural references: spirit guides, paranormal websites, etc. Then she makes contacts with various spirits with whom she has become acquainted to gain insights into their nature. She meditates and seeks to place her mind and spirit in the proper frame of mind to complete her task. Finally, she calls upon fate itself to aid her in her endeavors. Finally, she is ready.

She, Mike, and Lau Hu return to the Barton House, ready to put Maggie to her final rest. Since their last visit to the house, an impenetrable darkness has fallen on the haunted house and the atmosphere is filled with dread and impending doom. The three head upstairs to the master bedroom, where Angelica believes that Maggie was killed and later dismembered.

Here Angelica sets up her ritual, marking circles on the bloodstained floor with chalk. As Angelica sets up the ritual, Maggie comes shrieking out of the walls to attack her. Lau Hu reacts quickly and restrains the ghost as it maintains its physical form, hoping to harm the ectomancer and her friends as she makes her preparations. Finally, Angelica finishes her preparation and begins the ritual in earnest.

She calls up on Maggie with her name and with her own magical power. She calls out to Maggie and implores her to return to the Nevernever. Finally, after what seems to Lau Hu as an eternity, the spirit takes on a non-corporeal form and dissipates. The air in the house seems easier to breath and the atmosphere is less oppressive. The spirit has been disrupted and returned to the Nevernever.

Suddenly, a male spirit emerges from the floor, shrieking, “My wife! What have you done to my wife?!” It wraps its arms around Mike, who turns white and nearly falls to the floor. The spirit is gone as suddenly as it came. Mike, shaken, apologizes and tells them that he can’t stay in the house. It’s too much for him. Angelica reassures him that they are finished for the day and are leaving.

The three make their way out of the house, Jerome chasing them out the whole way.

In order to calm down, Angelica drives around the neighborhood for a while, picks up coffee, and listens to music in her car. She then takes the others home and returns to her house.

October 24, 2012

Over the past week, Angelica once again makes preparations to put one of the spirits to rest. This time, she selects Jerome.

She researches from her various spirit guides and paranormal websites, personalizing the details of the disruption to Jerome. She meditates and readies her mind to focus the various energies involved in the disruption. She once again contacts her spiritual guides to get insight on the means to send Jerome back to where he belongs. She also contacts various mediums and such with whom she has contact for advice. Finally, she questions the records office for the city to get Jerome’s full name. Once again, she is ready to disrupt the spirit of a Barton.

On the morning of the 24th, Mike calls Angelica and lets her know that he will not be accompanying her this time. The feelings of fear and dread conjured by the spirits have proven to be too much for him. She reassures him that she will take care of the situation and that his fears are not unfounded. Angelica then picks up Lau Hu from Chinatown and returns to the house.

Angelica sets up her ritual once again in the kitchen, where she believes that Jerome took his life. As she makes her preparations, the spirit appears and reappears, attempting to touch the ectomancer and inflict some sort of punishment upon her. He fails in every attempt and Angelica completes the ritual, disrupting the restless spirit.

October 28, 2012

Over the past few days, Angelica has been making preparations for her final disruption. Consulting her guides and spiritual contacts, as well as meditating and preparing herself for putting Toby Barton to rest. Finally she is ready. She anticipates that this will be easier as she will not be interfered with by the boy’s parent spirits.

Angelica picks up Lau Hu, just in case, and heads back to the Barton House.

The two make their way downstairs into the cellar. The temperature steadily rises until the two are drenched in sweat. They can hear the angry cries of the child emanating from the furnace. Angelica makes her preparations and settles into the now all-too-familiar ritual. Finally, after a short time, the temperature in the room drops to its normal chill and the two friends depart the now quiet, and quite abandoned, Barton House.


Angelica decides to bury the found finger bones at Maggie’s grave in Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery.

She also leaves another voice mail message with Leilani Capstone regarding the involvement of this “Shrouded One” in this affair.

Finally, Angelica calls Mike and fills him in on what happened and that the Barton House is now safe.

Side Job: The Restless Dead
Part Two

Lorraine Price is an attractive, gothically attired young woman. She approaches Angelica and Lau Hu’s table with no small amount of caution.

“Ronnie said you wanted to talk to me about Tim?”

Angelica chit chats with Lorraine for a bit, to make her feel more comfortable, before coming to her point—that she’d like to know where to find Tim.

It turns out that she and Tim broke up about three months ago. According to Lorraine, Tim had started to be a very negative person and she turned away from him. She met Ronnie and left Tim for the young bartender. The last she had heard was that Tim had dropped out of classes at Portland State and was living in an apartment in Sellwood.

After speaking with Lorraine, Angelica and Lau Hu head out to the Sellwood district to see if they can gather more information about Tim. Asking around, they find a group of goth kids at the Oaks Amusement Park. As luck would have it, they do know Tim, but he hasn’t been around much in the past few months. He’s gone “dark”, according to them. They know that he lives here in Sellwood, but not much else. Giving up, Angelica and Lau Hu head back to their respective homes.

Angelica stays up and does some internet research on any incidents that could be related to the case. She finds Tim’s Facebook page—which hasn’t seen any activity in the past few months. The last entries were very morbid quotes about love and death. There are pictures of he and Lorraine during happier times, but no clues as to his current whereabouts. She also investigates nearby cemeteries where Tim could have raised his zombie from. The nearest she finds is Lone Fir, a historical cemetery that currently only does memorials and takes cremated remains.

The next day, Angelica and Lau Hu meet again. Lau Hu has apparently been fighting with his father again, but doesn’t want to talk about it. They go out to Lone Fir and take a look around, finding nothing of interest there. They then return to Sellwood to do more digging.

The two split up to cover more ground. After about an hour of looking, Angelica gets a call from Lau Hu—he’s spotted Tim and is going to follow him. Then he curses—Tim has apparently spotted him and is on the run. Lau Hu gives chase. Angelica catches up with Lau Hu and the two follow the route where Tim has run to a basement apartment. As the two discuss what to do next, they hear drumming coming from inside the apartment. Lau Hu suggests that they leave and Angelica agrees.

Angelica and Lau Hu head back to Angelica’s house. She decides that she is going to attempt to free the animating spirit in Tim’s zombie. She spends the next few hours doing research of obituaries and various news sources to try and put together the probable identity of the corpse. She then researches in her own library of spiritual guides and tomes for information on how to complete her ritual. She even consults her mentor, Eleanor Munoz, about techniques that she should use. Eleanor lets her know that the Warden for the Greater Portland area is Leilani Capstone. Then, using the corpse’s name (Alex Jeremy Courson) and photograph as a symbolic link to the zombie, she goes into her sanctum and begins her ritual.

Through her symbolic link and the trappings of her spell, she chants the name of Alex Jeremy Courson, reaching out through space with her power to find the spirit attached to his body. She focuses her power through her bracelets. Finally, she finds it and weaves her ectomantic powers around the animating spirit within the body and cast it back into the Nevernever. By the time she finishes, it is well into daylight of the following day.

After getting a few hours rest, Angelica calls Warden Capstone and tells her what she has discovered. Apparently the Warden is in Eugene, up to her neck (so to speak) in Red Court vampires. She can meet with Angelica in two days. If Angelica continues to keep an eye on the nascent necromancer, Capstone warns her to be cautious. He may be young, but he could be very dangerous. There’s a reason why the White Council takes charges of necromancy very seriously.

Angelica and Lau Hu decide to continue to surveil Tim. They find a fairly good stakeout point near his apartment and settle in to watch. Eventually, as the sun begins to set, the young goth comes out and starts walking in their direction. Angelica throws up a veil as he walks past the two watchers and gets into a beat-up Nissan pick up. Lau Hu, driving Angelica’s car, follows.

As Lau Hu follows the beat up Nissan, it suddenly jukes onto a narrow side-street and peels away, leaving its pursuers in the dust. Cursing in Chinese, Lau Hu pulls over so they can regroup. The car was heading roughly west, so perhaps he was going to Mount Calvary Cemetery. Maybe they can catch up with Tim there.

Sure enough, as they drive around the perimeter of the cemetery, they spot the beat-up Nissan. Night has fallen at this point. Both Angelica and Lau Hu clumsily scale the wall and end up near some shrubbery inside the cemetery grounds. Lau Hu ducks into the shadows for a moment and re-emerges in his tiger form. Angelica waits while the big cat pads into the cemetery proper to take a look around. Finally, after about 45 minutes of tense waiting, Lau Hu emerges from the shadows. The two quickly scale the wall again and head out to Angelica’s car.

According to Lau Hu, Tim met a cloaked, hooded figure in the cemetery. The hooded figure seemed very upset with Tim, demanding that he quit fooling about and get “his book”. Tim related the trouble he had with a “woman” at the movie theatre and that his link with his zombie was inexplicably broken. The hooded figure again demanded that he get the book or he would take back the gifts that had been given to him.

Angelica takes Lau Hu back to Chinatown and then heads home to think about these new developments. Could Tim be using sponsored magic in his work? And, if so, who is the sponsor? Or was it an idle threat by an angry mentor? Who is this cloaked and hooded figure?

The next day, Angelica picks up Lau Hu, who has apparently had another row with his father due to his late nights, and heads out to Sellwood to spy on Tim again. They find his truck parked outside of his apartment once again. They find another good stakeout point and wait.

Around sundown, Tim emerges with a large bag and loads it up into his truck. They attempt once again to follow him, but the young necromancer gets away. The two decide to take a chance that he was heading for the cemetery once again. Sure enough, they find his truck parked outside. They decide to wait and watch for Tim’s return.

A few hours later, Tim emerges from the cemetery gates, drumming for all he’s worth, with another zombie walking behind him. The zombie and Tim get into the truck. The sound of heavy bass emerges from within the vehicle as the truck pulls away. Lau Hu gives pursuit, but Tim, once again, gets away.

Cursing vehemently, Lau Hu and Angelica decide to head to Laurelhurst Theatre—perhaps Tim wishes to complete his revenge on Ronnie after all. When the two pull up to the theatre’s parking, they can see Ronnie and Lorraine emerging from the theatre and walking down the sidewalk. Then Lau Hu hears the sound of drumming and can see the zombie and Tim walking up the street to meet Ronnie and Lorraine. Both Lau Hu and Angelica bolt from the parking lot, yelling at Ronnie to take cover.

Lau Hu attacks the zombie with a roundhouse kick as Angelica starts to draw a wide magic circle around the creature and Lau Hu. As he bangs the drum against his leg, Tim shouts something in Latin and Angelica feels a hammer blow of force knock her about. Again, Tim shouts and Lau Hu’s broken nose starts bleeding again. Finally, Angelica completes her circuit, cutting off the zombie from the source of its power. It drops to the ground at Lau Hu’s feet. The martial artist nimbly steps out of the circle and approaches the desperately drumming necromancer. He grabs Tim by the arm, enranged, and breaks it. Tim screams, as does Lorraine. Lau Hu starts leading the injured necromancer to Angelica’s car.

“What’s going on? What happened with that guy?” Ronnie asks, pointing at the corpse now laying on the sidewalk.

“Heart attack?” Angelica says. “I don’t know. We have to go. But Tim isn’t going to be bothering you anymore.”

“Why? Where are you taking him?” Lorraine asks.

“Shouldn’t we call the police?” Ronnie asks.

“I don’t know. Maybe. But we have to go.” Angelica heads to the car with Lau Hu and the whimpering Tim.

Angelica calls Warden Capstone, who agrees to meet them at at rest stop about halfway between Portland and Eugene. There, they meet the Warden, who is decked out in her grey cloak and wearing a sword at her side. She takes custody of the young necromancer, declaring, “You stand accused of breaking the Fifth Law of Magic. Rest assured, justice will be done.” As she loads the injured Tim into her car, he shrieks “The Shrouded One will take you all!” Then the Warden and her prisoner drive into the night.

Side Job: The Restless Dead
Part One

It’s a typical day at the office for Angelica Underwood. There’s a light drizzle going on outside as she plays soothing music to relax Maxine, her latest client. The air is cool and filled with the scents of the aromatherapy candles that she has placed especially for the relaxation of Maxine.

As her client settles into her ministrations, Angelica looks up and see the shadowy outline of a young girl floating at the head of the room. “He stirs them…he stirs them from their rest…” she whispers before fading from sight.

Later that day, Angelica is loading the car with groceries from the supermarket. She sits in the car and is about to start the ignition when she looks over and sees the shadowy form of an older Asian man sitting in her passenger seat. He turns to her and says “They stir from their rest…they follow the drum…”

Back at home, as she changes clothes to get ready for her meet up with her friend Lau Hu that night, Angelica is startled by the form of a middle aged woman who emerges from the center of her bed. “He stirs them from their rest…they cannot rest…”

Angelica tells Lau Hu of her encounters that day with the spirits over drinks at the Laurelhurst Theatre that evening. She’s sure that something big is going on in the spirit world around Portland, but not sure what. Lau Hu takes this in stride, knowing that Angelica is an expert in such matters, but interrupts her to ask “Do you hear drumming?” Suddenly, the small pub/concession area of the theatre erupts in screams as a…creature…makes its way through the crowd, throwing people and objects out of its way.

The creature looks like the walking corpse of a man. It is covered in dirt and is wearing a ragged suit. It grunts as it throws panicked theater-goers out of its path. The screech of metal grinding on metal fills the air as it forcibly removes a table from its moorings and throws it away. It seems to be making a beeline for the bar.

Angelica and Lau Hu are on their feet, trying to part the panicked crowd and intercept the thing. The crowd gets in their way as they try to move quickly. Lau Hu manages to catch up to the creature and place a hand on its shoulder. It rears back and elbows him in the face, breaking his nose in the process. Angelica continues to fight the crowd making its way toward the exits. She finally gets a good look at the thing and determines that it is a zombie—a reanimated corpse under the control of a necromancer. Drumming is used to create a link between the necromancer and the subject. It can also be stopped if the magical link is severed by running water, a magic circle, and the like. It also seems to be headed straight for the shocked bartender who stands frozen behind the bar.

“Get out of here! He’s heading for you!” Angelica yells as she fights her way to the bar. This seems to wake the bartender up and he runs into the kitchen behind the bar area.

Meanwhile, Lau Hu has been attempting to subdue the thing. However, his Kung Fu is inadequate to the task. He takes a hard hit to the eye and manages to dish out a couple of good punches of his own before being taken out, knocked unconscious and flung aside by the creature.

While the creature is occupied with Lau Hu, Angelica has made her way to the bar. When it flings her friend out of its path, she attempts to slow it down by casting bright light into its eyes. But it moves too fast, the light is flung beyond it and it continues its relentless path to the bar. By now, most of the patrons have cleared out of the theatre. Angelica looks behind the bar and finds what she is looking for—a bucket of margarita salt. She takes the salt and starts to craft a circle around the creature, hoping to sever the link between it and its master. However, the creature is moving too fast and manages to move away before the ectomancer can complete the circle. It approaches the bar and starts to climb over.

Cursing to herself, Angelica looks up and sees a young “goth kid” standing in the corner of the entryway to the theatre, beating on a small handheld drum. She grips the bucket of salt hard in her hand and approaches the kid, calling out “Hey! Goth kid! You better cut it out!”

As she approaches the young man, he stops drumming long enough to channel a hammer of spirit that strikes Angelica bodily, bloodying her nose. She continues her pursuit, raising the bucket to strike the young man with it. He continues to drum fast and hard. Angelica hears a low moan behind her and is shoved away with such force that she trips over herself. Then the young man and the creature make their way out of the theatre, accompanied by the screams of the patrons that had gathered outside.

Angelica goes to check Lau Hu. He has a wicked shiner and a broken nose, as well as being out cold. She makes sure that he is safe before heading into the kitchen behind the bar. There, several employees, including the bartender, have gathered. One employee is on their cell phone, talking with emergency services.

Angelica makes sure that the bartender is alright. Everyone seems to think that the attack was perpetrated by some “nut hepped up on PCP or something”. Sirens sound outside and police and EMTs arrive on the scene. They check on Lau Hu and load him up in the ambulance, allowing Angelica to ride with him to the nearest hospital.

A few hours later, Angelica takes Lau Hu back home to Chinatown after he’s checked out by doctors to make sure he has no concussion. They’ve splinted his broken nose and given him some medication for the pain, but otherwise he’s alright. His pride is hurt almost as much as his nose. The two make arrangements to meet the next day to look into this matter further. Angelica wants to uncover the secrets of this situation and Lau Hu wants to redeem himself for his failure this evening.

The next morning, Angelica does some searching on the internet to see if there are any news stories concerning opened graves or anything of that sort. She finds nothing in the mainstream media sources. She then goes to Chinatown to pick up Lau Hu. He seems agitated and indicates that his father was angry about his “getting into fights”. He doesn’t seem to understand that his cause was right.

The two head to Laurelhurst to see if the bartender from last night was on duty. As the obvious target of the attack, they want to know if he has an idea who the “goth kid” was. They are told that Ronnie, the bartender, won’t be on duty until later that night. In the meantime, Angelica and Lau Hu head back to Angelica’s house for tea and to allow Angelica to follow any leads on the more “spiritual oriented” message boards and internet sites for any news of what might be going on. One of the sites linked to a story from the Portland Reporter—a local tabloid—about disturbed graves spotted in Mount Calvary Catholic Cemetery. A fuzzy picture is presented and the story is attributed to “Staff”. As they have plenty of time before needing to return to the Laurelhurst, they decide to head out to Mount Calvary to check out the story.

Mount Calvary is a huge, 100+ acre cemetery near Forest Park. The two find a caretaker by the name of Kendel who is happy to help, but gives them no information. According to him, none of the graves have been disturbed recently and the cemetery is in pristine condition. Unfortunately, the photograph provided by the website is too fuzzy to give either of them a clue as to where in the cemetery it was taken. They leave the cemetery, discouraged at the lack of leads.

Angelica decides to call her former mentor, Eleanor Munoz, to get her advice. Munoz doesn’t know anyone in Portland that can help, but she suggests that Angelica contact the local Warden. Angelica doesn’t know who that is, so Munoz will consult with her contacts in Sacramento and get back to Angelica.

Later, the two head to Laurelhurst to meet with Ronnie. He recognizes them from the events of last night and the three exchange greetings. Angelica describes the goth kid she saw and Ronnie says that he sounds like Tim Mulligan, his girlfriend Lorraine’s ex-boyfriend. They broke up about three months ago. Tim used to be a student at Portland State but dropped out soon after Lorraine broke up with him. Angelica asks for Lorraine’s contact information so she can talk to her about Tim, but Ronnie balks, offering to call her himself and ask if she wants to meet her. Angelica says that this is fine and Ronnie sets up a meeting here at the theatre for an hour from now.

Scenario Four: Session 1

Nick tells Dillon and Yuriko that he’s going to be busy for a while. He’s going to be working on the spell to use Tom‘s bullet as a tracking device, plus the favor he owes Daymar. He’ll contact them when everything’s ready.

On the 20th of October, Dillon gets a call from Elder Eaglestaff. Eaglestaff wants to meet at the NAYA Center. Dillon calls Yuriko and they meet at the center. Upon entering the Elder’s office, he tells them that he and the other Elders met with Killian the day before. It did not go well. Killian was very hostile and called them all “old fools.” Unfortunately, the Elders believe that Killian may be involved with the shift in power and the attempts to awaken the spirits beneath Mount Hood.

Eaglestaff explains that every month he and the Elders perform an ancient ritual dance to appease the spirits. When they do this, he is able to feel the power flowing through him. However, it is getting harder and harder. The Elders will dance again on the 30th, when the moon is at its highest, but Eaglestaff is afraid that this is also a time when the spirits are vulnerable to opposing forces.

He asks Dillon and Yuriko to look into the Killian’s possible involvement. The Elder is afraid that Killian has placed himself on a path from which the professor cannot return. When Dillon asks about what he and Yuriko are supposed to do if they find evidence of Killian’s crimes, Eaglestaff says that, as the Elders of the community and “true believers”, he and the other Elders will take care of the matter. While Eaglestaff doesn’t think Killian is behind the serial murders, he does suspect that the man is performing blood magic. If so, there will be physical evidence left behind.

Eaglestaff gives Dillon his phone number in case he needs to be contacted outside of the NAYA Center. The three of them head out of the building and towards the parking lot. They are not yet to the Elder’s vehicle when Yuriko suddenly hears the whooshing of wings nearby. Before anyone can react, a winged bird of prey made completely from shadows attacks Eaglestaff, slashing him across the stomach with its talons. The Elder collapses on the ground.

While Dillon attempts to push Eaglestaff underneath a nearby car for cover, Yuriko makes a mighty leap and lands feet-first on the shadowy creature, pinning it to the ground. It attempts to claw at Yuriko, but misses her. In turn, she punches it hard in the back of the head. The bird turns into ectoplasmic goo, coating her hand. Yuriko runs back into the NAYA Center for help, while Dillon calls 911. The scene is chaotic by the time the ambulance arrives. NAYA members cluster around the fallen Elder. Dillon tells the paramedics that a person ran by and knifed Eaglestaff. As the medics are exclaiming over the multiple gash marks, Dillon and Yuriko make a quick exit to avoid more questions.

Back in Yuriko’s apartment, the two talk about the attack. Someone is purposefully targeting Eaglestaff. Killian is the most likely suspect as far as they are concerned. Yuriko invites Tom over. He stops by and they all share what new information they have gathered about the murder cases. Tom confirms that Killian flew to Portland from Arizona on the 27th of September. Danielle Fletcher was killed on September 30th.

Later, Dillon and Yuriko head to Powell’s to ask Aleister about what Eaglestaff meant about the “True Believers.” The former warden tells them there are groups of the Faithful that are considered their own Faction and generally take care of their own. However, if someone is committing blood rituals, the Warden would want to know about it. When Yuriko describes the shadowy bird, Aleister says it sounds like it was a magical construct.

Dillon’s phone rings. It’s Nick. He says they may have a problem. Daymar is missing. Dillon hangs up and he and Yuriko meet Nick at Barry’s Drafthouse. Nick says that he had talked to Daymar yesterday, when they agreed to meet so Nick could pay him back for the favor owed. However, when Nick showed up, Daymar was no where to be found. It seems too “convenient” that Daymar disappeared just days after helping them with his locator spell. When Yuriko asks, Nick says that he made Daymar a focus to summon or control energy.

They head inside. Dillon talks to the bartender. The last time the bartender saw Daymar was yesterday when he was talking to a man (who matches the description of Nick). The three friends leave the bar and start walking away, trying to figure out what to do next. Suddenly, they hear someone clear their throat. Turning, a homeless man sitting in the nearby alley says that he might have information for them. Once enough money exchanges hands, the homeless man says he saw Daymar approach the bar earlier today. Then a limo pulled up and someone with a gun told Daymar to get into the vehicle. The homeless man overheard a voice say that “Big Jim” wanted to see him.

Nick tells them that Big Jim Butler is a huge mover and shaker in the Portland area. He is also reputed to have mob connections. The three friends take a taxi to the Irvington area, where Butler lives. The taxi driver knows which house is his and agrees to drop them off a few blocks from Butler’s gated residence. While they discuss a few options, Dillon’s plan of heading up to the front gate and asking to see Daymar is the best one they have. Which isn’t saying much. Dillon calls Tom and tells him they are getting ready to see Butler. Tom is incredulous. Dillon says if Tom doesn’t hear from them tomorrow, he wanted for him to know the last place the three of them were going.

Dillon presses the intercom button on the gate. A voice asks what he wants. He says he would like to speak to Mr. Butler. When asked if he has an appointment, Dillon says no, but that he wants to see John Daymar. And the last place Daymar was seen was getting into Mr. Butler’s limo at gunpoint. There is a long silence, then the voice on the intercom says that Mr. Butler will see them.

The gates slowly open and a man, clearly a body guard, approaches the group. He leads them into the large house and into a very nice foyer area. A middle aged man in a suit stands before them. He looks them over carefully. “You have five minutes,” he tells them, “Who the hell are you?” Dillon explains that they are friends of John Daymar and are concerned about his safety, especially considering how he was last seen.

Butler tells the group to follow him. They enter a bedroom. Daymar is sitting before a television set, a tray with food and a beer in front of him. He seems surprised to see them, but Dillon also notices he is very tense. Butler explains that “Mr. Daymar” is helping with a particular situation. His daughter has been missing for a month. The police have been useless. Through his contacts, Butler heard that Daymar was the person to talk to if you wanted something … or someone … found.

Butler’s daughter, Cecily, is 20 years old and a linguistics student at Portland State University. She went out with friends one night, but never returned. No one has been able to find any trace of her. When Yuriko asks where Cecily was last seen, Butler tells her that his daughter and her friends were at Club Beat. Yuriko starts at the name of the club where she and Hana were not that long ago.

Daymar pipes up and says that he’s setting up a “rig” similar to how he helped Nick and his friends find who they were looking for. Dillon gives Daymar a dirty look. “Thanks, Daymar,” he says flatly.

Butler leads the group down into his basement. The room has been set up in the same fashion as when Daymar helped with the previous locating spell. Daymar situates himself and then begins. Dillon tells Butler to keep an eye on the mirror. It seems to take even longer this time for anything to happen. Butler is clearly getting more and more agitated. Then, suddenly, the mirror shimmers and a picture forms. The group crowds close.

A young woman’s face is before them. While she was pretty at one time, she is incredibly pale and haggard-looking, with huge bags under her eyes. Someone, or something, is nuzzling at her neck. When it pulls away, its huge fangs and blue visage are clearly visible. The creature strokes the woman’s cheek with long black claws. “Thank you, darling,” it says. “You’re welcome, Master” she replies in a monotone. Behind them, old dilapidated wood paneling is visible. The scene fades as Daymar slumps onto the floor, exhausted.

For a moment no one speaks. Then Butler erupts. “What the hell was that?” As Yuriko tries, mostly unsuccessfully, to calm Butler, Dillon calls Buxman and explains what they just saw. Buxman tells him that was a Black Court vampire. “Think Dracula,” the priest explains. Sunlight will kill it as will decapitation. It is also quite possible the vampire has more than one victim in its lair. Dillon asks Buxman who can go after these vampires. Buxman replies that he had hoped Dillon would become a person who could do just that. Dillon hangs up and grabs the map. A location in the West Hills has been indicated with a precise burn mark.

Dillon turns to Butler, who is still ranting. “Welcome to the Know,” Dillon tells him, then explains the situation. Butler, clearly struggling to come to terms with what he just saw, confirms that the young woman was his daughter. Dillon tells him that they will help get back his daughter. Butler agrees to get them whatever resources they need. Dillon calls Buxman back and asks about what protections the Black Court vampire may have. Buxman explains that it probably has at least one “Renfield”, a human that has been partially turned and now has some super-human abilities, like massive strength. Renfelds are utterly enslaved to their vampires and will do anything to protect them. Buxman tells Dillon not to attempt anything at night.

Dillon starts listing what they need, but Butler is off-put by his matter-of-fact tone of voice. Yuriko manages step in and calm down the situation. Butler agrees to let them stay the night. In the morning, they can borrow a car. He will also provide an axe and several stakes. Once everyone is shown to their rooms, Dillon privately meets with Yuriko and Nick. They will need help in this situation, and Tom, especially while still injured, is not the best person to call. He thinks they should contact Sabrina. Yuriko asks if Dillon feels Sabrina can handle the situation, without crossing a line. He does.

Dillon calls Sabrina and she answers the phone, sounding genuinely pleased to hear from him. Dillon explains the situation. He wants her help, but he will not be alone. She will be exposing what she is to other people. Sabrina hesitates for a moment, but agrees to help. She will meet Dillon at the location at dawn the next day.

Early in the morning, the three friends drive away from Butler’s house. Dillon calls Tom so that the cop knows they’re okay. The West Hills neighborhood is full of empty houses with “for sale” signs in front. The point on the map clearly indicates a particularly shabby house with boarded up windows. They park the car a few blocks away and wait for Sabrina to show up. She does shortly afterwards. There is a brief moment of awkwardness. Yuriko thanks her for agreeing to help. Sabrina nods. Dillon points out the house to Sabrina and asks Yuriko if she’ll scout it out. Yuriko agrees and slides out of the car.

She heads to a nearby house, also abandoned and for sale, and finds a secluded spot to shift. Once in fox form, Yuriko makes her way under the fence and starts circling the yard. All of the windows, including the ones in the backyard, are boarded up. There is no obvious padlocks or other devices on the doors, nor are there any outlying buildings or cellar doors. Creeping up very close to the house, Yuriko’s keen ears are unable detect any noise inside either. She makes her way back to the previous house, shifts, and heads to the car to report what she found. If Sabrina has questions about Yuriko’s methods of surveillance, she chooses to keep them to herself.

The back door seems to be the most logical place to start, so the group heads that way. Dillon grabs the axe and a stake. Everyone else also grabs a stake or two. The back door is locked, but Sabrina pulls out a set of picks and manages to get it open. The house is dark inside. Sabrina and Dillon move in first. They are in a kitchen. The low hum of the refrigerator indicates that even though the house looks abandoned, it is still getting electricity. Piles of dirty dishes sit in the sink.

Sabrina and Dillon are still looking around when Yuriko and Nick enter. Since neither one of them can see a thing, Nick summons a light in the palm of his hand. Bright light fills the entire kitchen and Sabrina’s eyes go very wide. Dillon hisses at Nick to put it out. Does he want to alert everyone that they’re here? Nick quickly does so and everyone pauses to see if anything happens. Yuriko can faintly hear music coming from somewhere in the house. No one else can hear it, but Dillon slowly makes his way out of the kitchen. Sabrina hands Nick her flashlight. As the group quietly makes their way through the first floor, cautiously looking in rooms as they pass, Yuriko says the music is getting louder from a particular direction. She can recognize the tune as an old Hank Williams number. Someone is singing along, badly.

Finally, they arrive at a door. Everyone else can hear the music now. Dillon cautiously opens the door to reveal a stairway leading down. Melding into the shadows, he and Sabrina creep downstairs. Shadows move along the wall in time to the music. At first, all Dillon can see is a pair of cowboy boots and a pair of women’s feet in flip-flops. He moves further down the stairs. There he sees a rather sleazy-looking man in cowboy boots and faded western shirt supporting a young woman in his arms. He leads the unresponsive woman to a couch where two others sit, expressionless. The man reaches out and pulls up another woman to dance, this one matching the description of Cecily.

Dillon waits until his back is turned. Then, filling his hand with saliva, Dillon creeps up behind the man. Dillon quickly reaches around him and presses his addictive saliva into the man’s face. There is a brief struggle, but the man eventually drops to the ground, unconscious. Sabrina wrenches his hands behind his back and cuffs him. Cecily remains standing in place, oblivious.

While Dillon guards the fallen man to keep him subdued, Yuriko searches the basement and finds a hidden door. She opens it to find a darkened crawl-space lined with dirt. Yuriko calls over Dillon to let him peer inside. He can see a coffin resting deep within. This must be where the Black Court Vampire rests during the day.

Yuriko gently manuevers Cecily back onto the couch. Then, Yuriko and Nick literally sit on the unconscious man, while Dillon and Sabrina move into the crawl-space. Sabrina readies a stake while Dillon throws open the lid to the coffin. The vampire lies within, its eyes closed. Sabrina slams the wooden stake into its chest. Immediately, the creature begins to thrash and convulse. At the same time, the man beneath Yuriko and Nick regains consciousness and starts yelling, strugging to free himself.

Sabrina reaches inside the coffin and drags the vampire out. Dillon tries several times to decapitate the creature with the axe, but is unable to make contact as it spasms. Sabrina takes the weapon from him and attemps to finish the job. Meanwhile, the other man gives a mighty roar and tosses Yuriko and Nick off, snapping the handcuffs that bound him.

As Nick draws his wand and throws bolts of force at the man, Yuriko yells at Dillon and Sabrina to hurry up and kill the vampire. She trips the man who is going after Nick. Finally, Sabrina severs the creature’s head from its body as Nick manages to knock the Renfield unconscious.

The group gathers around the unconscious man to figure out their next move. They’ve got three unresponsive young women, a Renfeld, and the corpse of a Black Court vampire to deal with. The man is the hardest issue to solve. He is too dangerous and unstable to leave alive, but killing him outright doesn’t seem like an option either. Besides the fact that no one wants to be the one to take his life, leaving behind a murdered man could also get the police involved. Dillon calls Butler on his cell phone and briefly explains the situation. Butler tells him that he’s sending a Mr. Jones to take care of things.

So that Butler’s men don’t encounter a cop at the scene, Sabrina leaves. While the rest of the group is waiting, Dillon takes the vampire’s head outside and tosses it in the yard to see what happens. The head immediately begins to smoke and then catches on fire, burning down until just the skull remains. Dillon returns to the others to wait and keep an eye on the still-unconscious man.

Yuriko hears the men enter the house before anyone else. She calls out that they are downstairs. A handsome but stern man in tailored suit leads a team of three others down the stairs. The team starts spreading out. They are carrying large containers of bleach and black dufflebags. Mr. Jones approaches the group. Dillon points out the Renfeld as the man who kidnapped the girls. Before anyone can react, Mr. Jones pulls out a gun and shoots the unconscious man in the head. Mr. Jones tells them to leave all evidence behind and makes Dillon strip out of his clothes, which are covered in vampire ichor. One of the men procures a track suit for Dillon to wear. Dillon tells Mr. Jones that the headless body in the crawl space will catch on fire if exposed to sunlight, and that its skull is in the back yard. Mr. Jones gives him an odd look, but does not ask questions.

The group leaves and drives back to Butler’s house. Butler informs them that the women have been dropped off at a local hospital, including his daughter. Yuriko suddenly remembers that she forgot to leave her stakes at the house for Mr. Jones and his team. Butler is upset that she brought them back into his house. He asks the group if they are “amateurs,” and Dillon retorts that yes, they are. Butler takes the stakes from Yuriko and says he’ll take care of them.

Butler thanks them for saving his daughter. He will owe them a favor for this. The group takes their leave.

Days of Future Past

August 13, 1993…

Father Buxman and Father Beauvais descend into the basement with the sound of Mrs. Holloway’s sobs in their ears. Below, they can hear the thrashing of the boy in his restraints. A low growling echoes up the stairs as they slowly climb down.

At the bottom of the stairs, they come into a sparsely furnished room. A twin bed dominates the small chamber. Beside it are a chair and a small table. On the wall is an ornate crucifix. Strapped to the bed in leather restraints is a boy, no more than fifteen years old. He strains against the straps, drool foaming in his mouth.

“Priests!” he cries. “I will feast upon your eyes and entrails! Then I will take that woman upstairs and…”

It is hard for the priests to remember that the voice coming from the boy is not his own, but that of the demon, Athralanax.

Father Beauvais pulls out his holy water and Father Buxman grips his crucifix.

It is time to begin the exorcism.


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