The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Blood Bank

Karkana Chronicles Two

November 24, 2012

Brianna Karkana and Joey Aragon have set themselves up in a cheap apartment and have set a workout schedule at Sibley’s Gym. There’s still a pall over the place over the “curse”, as no one knows that the curse’s source has been neutralized, but time will heal that wound to the community. Brianna is becoming a fixture in the fight community, very much giving off a competent management vibe, though Joey is still low on the fighter totem pole, having only been part of the system for two weeks.

Joey’s in the ring tonight and Brianna is ringside, subtly feeding off the ambient rage of situational violence. She soon gets more as during the fight Joey gets madder and madder at his opponent and at himself—its a close fight that had no business being as close as it was. Joey is far more skilled a fighter than his opponent, but still, he manages to get his bell rung before finally knocking his opponent out. Joey’s pissed, and Brianna’s secretly loving it.

As they move away from the ring, Brianna notices someone moving toward them through the crowd, but she can’t get a good look at them through all the people. She keeps her head down and moves with her fighter toward the rear of the venue where the doc is to get Joey checked out. She sticks close to Joey until they get to the rear doors and then turns around before entering the backroom. And there she sees Quincy Karkana, her cousin. They had crossed paths last time Brianna was in Denver and they had got on well together.

“Cousin,” he says.

“Quincy,” she says as she kisses him on the cheek. “Come on back.” As she closes the door, she notices a man in an overcoat and fedora, almost cliché in his dress, turning away and walking down the hall.

“You have a tail there, Quincy?” Brianna asks.

“I don’t know, why?”

“Man in a fedora and trenchcoat was watching you.”

At this point, Joey and Quincy exchange pleasantries. Then Brianna asks what brings Quincy to Portland.

“Family business. We’ll talk later,” he says.

“We’re going to grab a bite to eat after this. You’re welcome to join us.”

“That’d be great.”

Mel Landry, Joey’s new fight promoter comes in and he and Brianna talk business for a few minutes until the evening’s purse is brought in. Arrangements are made for Joey to fight again in two weeks.

As they all make their way out, the groupies gather, hoping to be Joey’s date for the evening, but he’s in a pissy mood and tells them to back off. The three of them, Brianna, Joey, and Quincy, get in Brianna’s car and head down to a local diner.

Brianna takes them to a back table for some privacy. She opens up the conversation, asking about the family business that Quincy had referred to earlier.

Quincy tells her that “You probably haven’t heard that Big Poppa, Jason Karkana, has declared that House Karkana is taking the side of the White Council against the Red Court in the Vampire War.”

“What the hell are you talking about? When did we start a war with the Red Court?”

Quincy shakes his head. “The Red Court declared war on the White Council. I don’t know all the details, but apparently a White Council wizard killed a Red Court noble and offense was taken. The Red Court felt the Accords were broken and broke them further. Jason disagrees. I’m spreading the word to various members of the family and moving on.”

“What does this mean for me?”

“It means that if you get caught up in this, and I hope you don’t, then you know what side to take if you want Jason’s support.”

The two chit chat and catch up on family gossip for awhile while Joey wolfs down his meal. Brianna offers to let Quincy stay with the them, but he declines, saying he has a room near the bus station where he came in. Then they start talking about the man following Quincy earlier in the evening.

“Did you notice anyone on the bus with you with a fedora?” Brianna asks.

“Just some hipster douchebag who thought he was Kid Rock.”

“Where were you before coming to Portland?”

“San Francisco.”

“Were you followed there?”

“Not that I know of.”

The two exchange phone numbers and Brianna offers to drive Quincy back to his room. The three load up and start to head over Quincy’s hotel when Brianna, who’s driving says, “Well fuck me, we have a tail.”

Sure enough, they are being followed by someone in a. white, commercial van with no markings.

“Do we want to see what this guy’s up to cause I cant’ try to lose him,” Brianna asks, “I can pull over and see what he does.”

“I got nothing,” Joey says.

They pull over into a well-lit parking lot and park, leaving the car running. The van keeps driving, passing the parking lot. Brianna puts it in drive and starts going after the van. She pulls up behind it and has Joey jot down the license plate number. Its from a Colorado plate. Then she pulls up alongside the van and Joey and Quincy get a look at the driver. Its an older man with a bushy goatee and a fedora. The van turns off onto a side street, but Brianna doesn’t pursue him.

After a brief discussion, it’s determined that no one knows how to get information from a license plate number and no one knows a police officer that can. Brianna asks if Quincy wants to send the information they have back home. Quincy says “What information? We have nothing.” Brianna reluctantly agrees.

Brianna asks Quincy what he’s doing next. He says he’s going to Seattle next to see another relative of theirs. The bus leaves at 8 am the following morning. Brianna insists that Quincy stay with them. They go and get Quincy’s things at his rooms and then go back to Brianna and Joey’s apartment.

As they’re driving, Brianna says, "If they’ve been following you since Colorado, do they know about our other family members? That’s a disturbing thought. . . "

Once they get back to Brianna’s apartment, Brianna insists on buying Quincy a plane ticket for Seattle. Just in case this guy knows about the bus for Seattle, it will throw him off the trail.

Finally, they get Quincy settled into the living room and everyone gets ready for bed for the night.

Brianna is awaked during the night by the sound of movement in the living room. She’s quietly making her way in that direction when she hears a load SNAP! She abandons the stealthy approach and rushes into the living room to find Quincy standing in the front doorway, the front door open, and a body laying in the floor. It’s the trenchcoated man with his fedora on the floor. His neck is turned at an very uncomfortable angle.

Quincy drags the body inside and shuts the door. Joey comes padding in from his room. “What’s going on?” he asks, sleepily. Quincy explains that he heard someone coming in and moved quickly. It turned out to be their tail.

The man had a small set of tools to unlock the door. Brianna checks the body for ID and finds his wallet and some disturbing other items. According to the man’s ID, his name is Henry Bascomb and he’s from Colorado. He’s also wearing a bronze ring with strange symbols etched into it. No one seems to recognize the symbols, so Brianna jots them down on a sheet of paper. Inside the man’s jacket are plastic blood bags, a needle and tubing. She realizes that the man intended to bleed them! She also finds keys to the van.

Brianna leaves the boys with the body and heads to the van. She climbs inside to find a series of storage cabinets inside. They are locked, but the keychain she has also has the key to these. They contain an odd assortment of items. Herbs, figurines, wands, knives, shrunken heads; all manner of exotic and strange materials. All of them cataloged precisely. There is also a small crafting area with a rack holding a gold wand and a bloodstone. Brianna also finds a refrigeration unit. Inside is a rack holding blood bags labeled “Karkana” and “Raith” with freshness dates.

At the front of the van are all manner of fast-food debris and receipts and trash. Clearly the man had been living in the van for some time. Brianna, whose anger has been steadily rising, takes some of the receipts from amongst the trash.

She goes back to her apartment and announces, “The fucker has a refrigerator unit with Raith and Karkana blood in it! It’s a bus full of wonders and horrors!”

She explains what all she found in the van and that she believes that he was a magic user of some sort, a wizard or practitioner of some sort.

Brianna then starts going through the receipts she collected and announces the cities he’s been to or through: Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Denver. Quincy says these are all the cities he’s been through. He seems to have a revelation and excuses himself to make a phone call.

Quincy comes back from his phone call whitefaced—“I can’t contact anyone from any of the cities I visited with someone.” Quincy then kicks the body of the dead man.

Brianna asks if he called home. “Yes,” he says, “We have no resources in Portland. We’re on our own.”

Brianna says that she has a favor she can call in with the Raiths. Joey says that he doesn’t see too many more options at this point.

They move the body to the bathtub.

November 25, 2012

First thing in the morning, Quincy leaves for Seattle. “I hate to leave you with this mess.”

“You owe me,” Brianna says, hitting him playfully. “There’s nothing you can do here.”

Joey and Brianna then head to Nirvana. The nightclub is closed in the early Sunday morning hours. Brianna rings the front door bell. A young man in khakis and a polo shirt opens the door and informs them that the club is closed but that they can return this evening at six.

“I’ve had prior business with Nerise Patel. Please let her know that Brianna Karkana is here to see her about a favor owed.”

“Wait here.”

After a few minutes, the young man returns and Joey and Brianna are allowed inside. Under the fluorescent lights of the early morning, the magic of Nirvana is gone. Professional cleaning crews make their way through the club, plying their trade. The place is hollowed out and empty under the light of day. Joey and Brianna make their way upstairs to Nerise’s office.

The two guards are not surprised to see Brianna. They knock on the door and Clive emerges to motion Brianna inside. Joey waits outside.

Nerise Patel meets Brianna standing at the edge of her desk. “I understand that you are calling in your favor?”

“Yes. I hadn’t intended to so soon but the matter was taken out of my hands.”

“You seem upset. Would you like to sit?”

“Yes, please.”

Nerise directs the visibly angry Brianna to a chair and then directs Clive to bring them some drinks. “Thank you,” Brianna says.

“You seem like a woman who likes to get to the point,” Nerise says.

Brianna then proceeds to tell her the story of what happened last night. She also shows her the symbols she copied from the ring, but Nerise doesn’t recognize them either.

Nerise paraphrases what is needed from her. “You have a corpse. You need it to go away. I can make this happen. I can also help explain what this man was up to. You see, our blood, the blood of the White Court, has certain affects upon those that drink it. The blood from my bloodline acts as a powerful aphrodisiac. The blood of your bloodline acts as a powerful steroid. There are those who would pay much to acquire such exotic tastes.”

Nerise will send people this afternoon to make both the corpse and the van disappear. “What color carpet do you want?” she asks Brianna.

“What?”

“What color carpet do you want? For your apartment. There will be a change made with this process.”

“Nothing fancy. . .”

“Very well.”

Brianna says that she will see herself out. She’s not very good for company today. Nerise nods and sips her drink.

That afternoon, a carpet company crew comes to Brianna’s apartment and efficiently changes out the carpet in Brianna’s apartment. They also take out the old carpet with the body wrapped inside. Later that day, a tow truck comes and tows the van away.

Brianna calls Quincy and makes sure he arrived safely in Seattle. All is well. He’s tried again to call his former contacts and they are still unreachable. He’s been told by the main House to backtrack once he makes his Seattle contact. Brianna asks him to let her know how it goes as well. He says he will.

That evening, Brianna and Joey head to Sibley’s Gym for a vigorous workout.

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