The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Bloody Shadows (Part Three)

Karkana Chronicles Eight

March 2, 2013 (Evening)

It’s time for Brianna to feed. They opt to stay away from Pioneer Square, but find another dance club with potential. It’s a rough club, kind of a dive, playing punk music. She heads to the center of the mosh pit to feed while Joey skirts the outside.

Brianna finds a victim and incites rage in him to feed at the same time. She must have struck a nerve because her power causes a fight to break out in the pit that carries over and degenerates into riot.

“Have to go,” she says as she gathers up Joey, sated on the rage she’s caused, “Soon the cops will be here.”

They take off and, sure enough, they hear sirens in the distance.

They go to a gym and work out for while before heading back to their hotel. When they get back the hotel, Brianna’s phone rings. It’s the Seattle Police Department.

“This is Loomis,” says the voice on the other end.

“Ah, Detective Loomis, what can I do you for?” Brianna says, in a good mood.

" I spoke to Mr. Higgins. His story checks out. "

“With the video footage or with what you suppose happened?”

“With what you said and with the hotel security footage.”

Brianna breathes a sigh of relief. “Perfect. So you saw the footage?”

“Yes. He was with the woman at 11 pm like he said, let her into room 605 at 11:03.”

“Was it Alissa?”

Loomis pauses. " I spoke to Ezekiel, so I won’t ask how you know that name. But yeah, I think it was. "

“Well, it will make tomorrow night that much more delicious.”

“I’m going to talk to the DA,” Loomis says, changing the subject.

“Thank you.”

“We’ll see if this punches a hole in the case. But, as you know, it’s not as if I can pursue Alissa in the usual fashion.”

“So I would like us to be damn sure we have everything we need to get my cousin out of prison.”

Loomis then says, “Ezekiel also clued me in as to your shared heritage.”

“He mentioned he was going to. It’s best to know what you hunt with.”

“I need you to control yourself in my town.”

Brianna does her best to not be offended. “I generally try to make my presence as little known as possible. I take it from your general lack of hysterics that you have a lot more knowledge about what goes in your city. The reality underneath the surface.”

“I’ve run into a lot of weird stuff, if that’s what you mean.”

“I suppose. How familiar are you with the politics in Seattle?”

“Politics?”

“Well, our target has supporters,” Brianna says.

“I’m aware of that,” Loomis says.

“Good. Moves against her are not taken lightly.”

“I’ve moved against her before. I know.”

“May I see my cousin tomorrow?” Brianna asks.

“Yeah,” says Loomis.

“Thank you. I’ll be there at 8. Was there anything else I can help you with? It’s been a long day.”

“No I suppose that’s it. For now.”

“I suppose you’ll have plenty of time tomorrow to ask your questions.”

“Good night,” Loomis says.

“And to you,” Brianna says and hangs up.

“It’s odd,” Brianna says to Joey, “the police being attuned to the supernatural undercurrent of the town, but I suppose there’s plenty of unexplained crap going on…”

Brianna and Joey head to bed.

March 3, 2013

At 8 am at the precinct house, Brianna and Joey head to the Special Crimes unit to see Detective Loomis. Loomis meets them, says “Morning” and takes them to the holding cells and leaves.

“How are you holding up?”

Brianna can answer her own question. It’s obvious that Quincy is not doing well. His eyes are bloodshot and he doesn’t look good. She paraphrases what’s going for him, trying to give him some kind of assurance.

“Hopefully they get can get you out of here soon,” she says.

“I sure as hell hope so.”

“I need you to be honest with me, can you make it?”

“My arraignment’s Monday?” he asks, seeming to calculate in his head.

“The fact that you have to think about this doesn’t make me hopeful…” Brianna says.

“You try it,” Quincy growls.

“If you’re going to break, I need you to man up and tell me!” Brianna retorts.

“I’m not going to break,” Quincy says, decisively.

“Good. I’m going to see if there’s anything Loomis can do.”

She goes out of the holding area and looks for Loomis. He’s waiting just outside. “Could you come in here for a chat?” she asks.

“Alright,” he says, warily.

He comes into the holding area with her.

“You don’t happen to have any angry, crazed drunks in lock up, do you?”

“I don’t have one that fits the bill in general population, no. I could put him there, but there’s no one that currently fits that description,” he says carefully.

“Is there anyone in general population that you don’t mind being crazed and angry?” Brianna asks.

“I’m not going to be a party to that,” Loomis says quickly.

Brianna nods. “If you come across any prisoners that fit that bill, if he could be close to them, it would help.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Loomis says.

“Thank you.”

Loomis leaves and Brianna heads back to Quincy.

“Hopefully this will be resolved soon,” she tells him.

“I hope so.”

Brianna heads out with Joey in tow. Brianna tells Loomis “Keep me posted. Call me whenever there is a plan. I assume there will be one before night fall.”

“We’ll keep you posted,” he says.

Brianna and Joey head back to their hotel and wait for their phone call.

March 3, 2013 (5:00 pm)

About 5pm, Brianna gets a phone call from a number she doesn’t recognize. She answers it.

“This is Loomis.”

“I didn’t recognize the number,” Brianna says.

“I’m calling from home. There’s a house near Pioneer Square that is currently unoccupied. Here’s the address. Meet out front at 6 pm.”

“I’m trying to decide if I should pick something that will draw Alissa’s attention to me or If we should got at this a different way.”

“Pick what?” Loomis asks.

“An outfit,” Brianna says.

“Pick something you don’t mind getting dirty.”

“That’s everything I own. See you at six.” She hangs up.

Outfit-wise, she finally selects a red sleeveless top and a jacket and pulls her hair back in a tight pony-tail.

She and Joey head to the rendezvous. Loomis is there in loose-fitting jeans and khaki shirt. Ezekiel is there as well, with a staff in his hand and a sword on his back. He also has a bag at his feet. Brianna comments dryly to Joey. “I guess we’re getting serious. There’s a sword involved.”

Ezekiel says, “So there is no mistake, we hunt to kill tonight.”

Brianna laughs. “I should hope so.”

Ezekiel frowns. “This is no laughing matter, Ms. Karkana.”

“This bitch has attacked my family. I have no problem with her death,” Brianna says.

Loomis simply stands there with a stern look on his face.

Ezekiel says “We’ll be going to the Underground tonight. The True Underground.”

“What does that mean, exactly?” Brianna asks.

Loomis says, “Beyond where the tourists go. To the realm guarded by the Wyldfae.”

“I believe that Elspeth knows where Alissa lairs. I have brought her tribute,” Ezekiel motions to the bag at his feet. Brianna looks at the bag to see if it is moving—it is not. She then looks at Joey, who shrugs.

“Follow me,” Ezekiel says.

The Warden takes them down alleyways between houses and business to a secluded spot with a manhole. He works the manhole cover loose and leads the way down. Once they get down, he utters a word in a language that Brianna doesn’t recognize and suddenly the Warden’s staff lights up in a bright white light, illuminating the space around them. They are in a tunnel that looks like a sunken city street. She can actually see buildings and cobblestones.

“Did this used to be a street?” she asks, incredulously.

“Yeah. Back in the early 1900s there was a fire and they rebuilt the downtown on top of the old.” As they walk, she sees cross streets, sunken buildings, and the like. She can also just make out motes of light, will-o-the-wisps, flying just out her field of vision. She can hear eerie scrabbling sounds in the darkness, things that could be fleeing from the light of the staff. Ezekiel leads the way with a sure step.

Finally the wizard brings everyone to a crossroads and stops, raising his hand. He calls out in a clear voice “Elspeth, Sidhe mistress of the Underground. I have brought tribute.”

A strange, in-human voice echoes out of the darkness beyond the light of the staff. “Tribute?” The sound is high-pitched, slightly feminine, but definitely not human.

“Yes, according to the ancient ways, tribute for information and hospitality.”

“Step forward, wizard.” The voice echoed from all corners of the chamber.

Ezekiel steps forward. His light shines a light on a creature that looks vaguely feline, about the size of a bobcat, with rough black fur and wide paws. The paws have an extra digit, allowing it grip things like a hand. Its head has a too-wide mouth full of sharp teeth and its eyes are feline, and glow with a soft light. Its wide mouth forms words. “Bring me the tribute,” it says in that high, inhuman, voice.

Ezekiel opens up the bag and brings out a tall plastic container full of what appears to be blood. He opens up another package that looks to be some sort of meat. The creature, Elspeth, takes up the meat with her hand-like paw and laps at the blood. “This tribute is fitting. You may ask your question, wizard.”

“We seek a vampire of the Red Court, Alissa Tanner. I have heard she lairs in the Underground. I want to know where.”

Elspeth blinks slowly and chews on the meat. She then gives Ezekiel a series of directions.

“Thank you my lady.” He backs away and joins the rest of the companions. “Let’s go.” And he starts leading the band down more tunnels.

As Ezekiel leads the group further through the Underground, he starts to slow down and says, “We’re getting close now.”

“What’s the plan?” Brianna asks.

“If I go in first, I may be able to surprise her with a spell that will blind and deafen her,” Ezekiel says.

“And the plan is for us to rush in there?” Brianna asks.

“I suppose so,” Ezekiel says.

“Okay,” Brianna looks to Loomis and Joey to see if there are any questions. There are none. She shrugs. “It’s as good a plan as any.”

“You all stay back. I don’t want you to affected by my spell. You’ll hear it.” Ezekiel walks ahead.

Brianna and the others stay back. Brianna shifts on the balls of her feet, ready to run once she hears the spell go off. Sure enough, up ahead in the tunnel she sees the crackle of lightning and hears a peal of thunder. She runs to the scene, using her preternatural speed to outpace the others.

When Brianna gets to the sunken building that Alissa is apparently lairing in, she sees the vampire facing off with Ezekiel, who is shooting a jet of steam from his hand at the vampiress. She also sees, lying in a pool of blood on the floor, Dwight Higgins. Alissa tries to claw at the wizard, but misses him.

Brianna punches Alissa hard in the face. “You bitch!” the vampire cries out. “That was my family, you fucking --!” Brianna says. Alissa claws her across the arm. The Warden, in the meantime, has drawn his sword and slashes Alissa severely across the chest, leaving her bleeding. The vampire curses the wizard. “Do you know who I am?!?”

Brianna throws another punch at Alissa, but fails to connect. Alissa claws the Warden across the stomach. By this time, Joey and Loomis have finally arrived. Joey gets a punch in, a nice uppercut to Alissa’s chin. He chuckles to himself that he actually got a hit in on a vamp. Loomis rears back and lands a haymaker that ends up breaking Alissa’s neck—dealing more damage than a mere human could possibly do.

Brianna stands panting. She meets Loomis’ eyes and says, “Good kill.”

“You all right?” he asks.

“I’m fine.”

“Ezekiel?” he asks the wizard.

“Nothing time won’t heal,” the wizard answers.

The group gathers by the dead human. “Poor Dwight,” Brianna says, pacing to get her anger under control. She claps Joey on the shoulder. “Good hit.”

He shrugs. “It was just one.”

She then asks Ezekiel, “Now what?”

“Now? I was not expecting to find another corpse down here.”

“That’s Dwight. That’s the person she persuaded to get into my cousin’s room,” Brianna says.

“So she was covering her trail,” Ezekiel says.

“Looks like it. Although since Loomis saw footage of them together in the hotel, I’m not convinced it’s not just a sign of her being a vindictive bitch,” Brianna says.

“Let’s collect Dwight and get out of here,” Loomis says.

“I’ll carry him,” Brianna says. She picks up the body. “Do you tell the Margrave what happened?” she asks Ezekiel.

“I’m sure they’ll figure it out soon enough. I don’t report to the Margrave.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean report. I’m sure things will escalate here soon. She was very close to him.”

Ezekiel leads them out of the Underground and into an alleyway. Night has fallen. Loomis has Brianna set Dwight down. “I’ll call in an anonymous tip.”

“Do I need to worry as I’ve been carrying him around for the past half hour? Hair? Fibers?”

“Are you in any databases? Do you have a record?” Loomis asks.

“Not that I know of.”

“Then probably not.”

“Anything else that needs to happen tonight, gentlemen?” Brianna asks.

“Stay out of trouble,” Loomis says.

“I intend to.”

“Burn those clothes.”

“Good deal.”

“You’re staying at a hotel,” Loomis remarks. “It won’t do to be going into the hotel like that. You and Joey can come to my place and I can get your things.”

“I appreciate your hospitality,” Brianna says warily.

“Yeah, well.” Loomis says.

“Okay,” Brianna says.

“Come on and follow me,” Loomis says.

Everyone heads back to the rendezvous point and separates. Brianna and Joey get into their car, Joey driving and Brianna in the back seat trying not to get blood all over the upholstery.

As Joey follows Loomis to his place, Brianna says, “Joey, there was a little more strength in that punch than to be expected. Did you ever pick up any vibes on him?”

“Nope.”

“Me either.”

Loomis lives in a nice little house in a small neighborhood. Brianna hesitates in the doorway until he invites her inside. Inside, the rooms are decorated with native art and pictures of his family. He says, “If you give a room key, I can go get your things.” Joey gives him one room key. "Shower’s there. There are towels and a robe. Loomis heads out.

Brianna takes a quick but thorough shower. She uses the robe and towels her hair dry. She then wanders into the kitchen and looks for a plastic garbage bag to put her clothes in. She ties it shut and leaves it on the bathroom linoleum. She looks for bleach and sprays out the sink as well.

Finally, Loomis shows up and gives them each their bags. After Brianna gets dressed and returns to the living room, Joey goes to take his shower.

“I borrowed one of your garbage sacks to get ride of the clothes,” Brianna tells Loomis, sitting down on the couch.

“Okay,” Loomis says.

Both sit in awkward silence for a while.

“As soon as my cousin gets out, we’ll both be heading home,” Brianna volunteers.

“Probably for the best,” Loomis says.

Joey finishes his shower and gets a bag for his blood-spattered clothes. Then they wipe out the tub.

Loomis, indicating the bags of clothes, says “If you leave them, I can take care of them.”

“Thank you again for your hospitality. The arraignment is at nine?” Brianna asks.

“Yes,” Loomis says.

“We’ll be there.”

Joey gets his key card back and heads out the front door with Brianna in tow.

The two head back to the hotel and stow their bags away once again. Then they head downstairs to the hotel bar where Brianna them both a drink. “To a night that went fairly according to plan.” Then they head back upstairs, place furniture back in front of the door, and set their alarm to give them plenty of time to head to the arraignment the next morning.

March 4, 2013 (9:00 am)

At the Court’s Building, Brianna and Joey see Loomis leading a handcuffed Quincy into the courtroom. He’s being accompanied by his lawyer. Brianna and Joey head into the courtroom and find seats. The proceedings begin.

Quincy’s lawyer does all the talking on his behalf. Quincy looks stressed, but manages to hold things together. During one interesting turn of events, Loomis actually testifies that Quincy has been very cooperative with the police department during the course of the investigation and that this should be a factor in the bail consideration. Brianna gets the impression that such testimony does not occur very often. For his part, the DA argues against bail due to the heinousness of the crime. Eventually, bail is set at $5000 and Quincy is to be remanded to County facilities until trial.

Unfortunately, neither Brianna nor Joey can scrape up $5000. Brianna approaches the lawyer and introduces herself. She asks if he was hired by the family or by Quincy. He was hired by Quincy.

“Did Quincy leave arrangements for the $5000 to be paid for bail?” Brianna asks.

“Well, we didn’t know what the bail would be, but fortunately, enough was set aside.”

“So you can take care of that on his behalf?”

“Yes.”

“Then Quincy can be out by tomorrow?”

“Maybe by this afternoon.”

“Perfect.”

“Though he won’t be able to leave town until the trial is done,” the lawyer says.

Brianna gives the lawyer her contact information and then she and Joey head back to the hotel. Later that afternoon she gets a phone call. It’s Quincy.

“I’m out.”

“Do you need me to pick you up?” Brianna asks.

“Yeah,” Quincy says.

Brianna and Joey pick up Quincy from the County lock-up. He’s ready to feed. “Go to the waterfront.” He says. Joey does as he’s told. Quincy has them stop in front of a dive bar. He gets out and tells them to wait for him. Forty-five minutes later, Quincy comes running out, hops in the car, and tells Joey to drive. He looks much better.

As they drive, Brianna catches him up on current events. Apparently Quincy’s things from the hotel were impounded. He can pick them up in the morning. They head back to Joey and Brianna’s hotel. If they don’t mind, he can sleep on their couch—they don’t mind. Brianna encourages him to contact their family, so Quincy excuses himself and takes his phone in another room. Eventually he comes back out.

“I have the support of the family,” he says, “The Patriarch is pleased the interloper is dead. No worries there.”

“What’s the plan now?” Brianna asks.

“We wait for the trial.”

“How long for that?”

“The trial starts in three weeks,” Quincy says.

“Is the family sending anyone else?” Brianna asks.

“No.”

“Alright. Do you want us to stay?”

“I don’t want to keep you that long.”

“Alright,” Brianna says, “We might be able to come back up for the trial. When the Margrave finds out that his get has been executed some stuff will be escalating around here.”

“I’ll watch myself,” Quincy says.

“Good. Keep me posted, okay?”

“Okay.”

Brianna gives him a hug.

That night, Quincy sleeps on the couch. Brianna and Joey still place furniture in front of the door.

March 5, 2013

Quincy picks up his belongings from the impound at the Police Department. He and Brianna and Joey say their goodbyes before Brianna and Joey swing by the precinct house to talk to Detective Loomis.

“just wanted to say it was a pleasure meeting you. We’re heading out. We may be back in town for the actual trial,” Brianna says.

“Same here, as far as the pleasure meeting you part,” Loomis says. He gives her his card. It actually has his first name on it, Shawn.

“I appreciate you getting my cousin out. I’ll remember that,” Brianna says.

The two shake hands.

“Have a nice day,” Brianna says and leaves.

The two head back to the hotel, check out, and then get on the road back Portland.

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