The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Bloody Shadows (Part One)

Karkana Chronicles Eight

February 27, 2013

Rupert leaves Sibley’s Gym. Brianna relates her conversation with him to Joey and finishes her workout, reinvigorated by her anger.

That afternoon, Brianna and Joey do some digging around the supernatural community to see if anyone has heard of Mr. Rupert. They find out that he is the representative of some heavy hitters and nothing more. Though the fact that the supernatural community has heard of him tells Brianna something. She and Joey stick fairly close together throughout the day.

Late that afternoon, Brianna’s phone rings. It’s a private number.

“Hello, Ms. Karkana.” It’s Barnabas Gould.

“Mr. Gould. What a surprise.”

“You’re very busy.”

“I keep my hands in things, I suppose. Fighting is a busy schedule.”

“Don’t insult me,” Gould says, snappish.

“Was there a point to this phone call?” Brianna says.

“We both know what the point of this phone call is,” Gould says, barely controlling his anger, “I know you stole that device.”

“I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“If that’s your game, I suppose I can take some satisfaction in the new enemies you’ve made.”

“Are you the reason Mr. Rupert came to visit me today? He made a lot of threats at me and then left.”

“You are the prime suspect. The one with an axe to grind.”

Brianna rolls her eyes. “I find it hard to believe that you do not have other enemies with axes to grind. And if Mr. Rupert’s bosses are as charming as he is, then they have left people with bad blood in Portland as well.”

“You are an infuriating woman, Ms. Karkana.”

Brianna laughs. “You are not the first person to say that, Mr. Gould. I doubt you will be the last. I don’t know what object you are looking for, but I do not have it.”

“Pray you find it before the Venatori find you. Good day, Ms. Karkana.

“Mr. Gould.”

Brianna hangs up. “Heard of the Venatori?” she asks Joey. Joey’s heard the name. “Masons with machine guns,” he says. They hit the streets, looking for more information on the Venatori, but don’t much more than what Joey said. After a long day of hitting their contacts, they decide to call it a day and go home.

February 28, 2013

That afternoon they go to Sydney Benning’s Burnside apartment. Sydney invites them inside. It’s a spacious studio apartment with a nice kitchen, a living room full of books, a hammock along the wide window for Regi, and a room in the back for Sydney. Brianna introduces Joey. Regi says “Hiya, lady,” from his hammock.

“I was just checking in on you, seeing how you were doing,” Brianna says.

“Much better now,” Sydney says.

She offers them water, beer, or wine. Brianna takes some water. Joey take a beer.

“I did want to ask that you and Regi be…that whatever you tell friends or acquaintances about what happened, that my name stay out of it, if you understand what I mean?” Brianna says.

Sydney looks a bit confused but says, “Alright.”

Regi says, “Whatever you say, lady.”

“I also wanted to ask about something I heard about on the street…the Venatori…do you know anything about them?” Brianna continues.

Sydney says, “The Venatori Umbrorum.—‘Hunters of the Shadows’. An ancient secret brotherhood.”

Brianna asks some more questions about them, their purpose, if they are a brotherhood if they are all male. Sydney answers as best she can. Their main purpose is still secret, but they have been known to assist the White Council from time to time. Brianna seems surprised by this bit of news. Sydney isn’t sure if the organization has modernized to the point of allowing females into their ranks, but wouldn’t be surprised.

The conversation soon moves on to other topics…

“Regi called you a sorceress…do you have some sort of specialties?” Brianna looks to see if her question has offended Sydney, but her face betrays nothing. The young sorcerer says “I am versed in the use of fire, air, and spirit and in conjuration. But I would appreciate it if you would keep that information to yourself.” She also says that she is considered a sorceress because she was not accepted by the White Council as a wizard.

“I don’t understand how someone who can do what you can do would not be accepted.”

Sydney is tight-lipped. “There were politics.”

“Ah. That I understand. I doesn’t matter where you are, politics bite you in the ass every time. You have my contact information if you need to reach me for any reason. And Regi knows which window is mine,” Brianna says.

“I’m sorry I don’t have a phone. I tend to short them out.”

“I think we have enough contact info for each other.”

The two say their goodbyes and Brianna and Joey head out.

As the two head home to get ready for the fights, Brianna says, “Well that’s interesting. We’ve pissed off an ancient secret brotherhood. And they work with the White Council? That’s unexpected. Nothing with Gould is above board. Even if he gave a birthday present to his mother, there’s something rotten about it. And they’re buying drugs and paying Gould in magic items and then turning around and working with the White Council?”

Joey says, “Maybe they don’t know how corrupt Gould is?”

“Maybe,” Brianna says, skeptically.

“Maybe they’re looking for whatever edge they can get,” Joey says.

“Super Masons with machine guns. That’s a bit on the gray side,” Brianna says, “Very interesting. I imagine we’ll find out some of these answers sooner rather than later.”

The two go home and get ready for the fights that night. At the fights, Brianna sips and feeds on the ambient violence and rage that such surroundings produces and also schmoozes with the other fight managers and fighters. She and Joey stick pretty close together. They also check in with Brian O’Malley, the fighter that was formerly hooked on “The Juice” and for whom Brianna paid his debt to Gould. He’s really coming around and getting on the right track.

After the fight, Brianna and Joey head out to their usual late night diner and hang out and eat. As Joey demolishes a late night breakfast, Brianna gets a call from her cousin, Quincy.

“Thank God you picked up. I’m in trouble,” he says.

“Are you still in Colorado?” Brianna asks.

“No, I’m in Seattle.”

“What’s going on?”

“I can explain more later, but I’ve been arrested. For murder. I need your help.”

“Well, you have it,” Brianna says.

“Can you come?”

“Yes. Where in Seattle are you being held?”

Quincy gives her the precinct information she needs.

“I’m coming up tonight,” Brianna says.

“Thanks,” Quincy says.

“Anything you need me to bring besides myself?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’ll be there tomorrow. Be safe.” Brianna hangs up. She turns to Joey. “Quincy’s been arrested for murder in Seattle.”

“So I guess you’re going to Seattle.”

“We’re going to Seattle.”

“We?” Joey says, surprised.

“After everything that’s happened, I’m not sure that splitting up is the best course of action. I still feel guilty about leaving you the first time.”

“Alright,” Joey says.

"I"m going to need someone watching my back up there. The last time I was up there, I did not make friends. I think that’s been settled, There might be one person who might hold a grudge," Brianna says, “I’ll call Mel tomorrow. We need to leave tonight.”

They head back to the apartment, pack, and then start driving to Seattle.

March 1, 2013 (Early Morning)

They arrive in Seattle early in the morning. Brianna makes sure that they get a hotel outside of Pioneer Square (the hunting grounds of Alissa Tanner) and away from La Porte Triple (the seat of power for Alfonse Velasquez).

Once they are set up in their hotel room, Brianna contacts the precinct for visiting hours for prisoners.

“I’m calling to find out when visiting hours were. I got a call from my cousin that he was being held there.”

“Your cousin’s name?” the desk sergeant asks.

“Quincy Karkana.”

“Hold a moment.” After a moment the desk sergeant gets back on the line. “He’s being held by Special Crimes. That’s Loomis’ unit. Let me put you through.”

Then Brianna hears a deep, gruff voice voice on the line. “Special Crimes. This is Loomis.”

“This is a Brianna Karkana. I understand you’re holding my cousin. I’d like to see him.”

“Your cousin is being held for murder, Ms. Karkana.”

“I highly doubt he did it. Does that impact me being able to see him? Officer Loomis…”

“Detective.”

“Detective Loomis. I’ve just driven in from Portland. I’d like to have a time I can set my alarm for so I can talk to my cousin in the morning.”

Loomis grunts. “I’ll give you 15 minutes tomorrow morning.”

“When?”

“Eight a.m.”

“I’ll be there.”

Brianna tells Joey that they’re going to the precinct to talk to Quincy at eight a.m. and that they get fifteen minutes to talk to Quincy. They both then power nap the rest of the morning and then get ready for their visit. Brianna dresses in her business manager outfit and Joey dresses nicely. Brianna makes sure they arrive at the precinct house at 7:45.

March 1, 2013 (7:45 am)

Joey and Brianna arrive at the precinct house and get directions to Special Crimes. They arrive at Detective Loomis’ office and introduce themselves. Detective Loomis is a largish man, possibly Hispanic or Native American, with a trimmed haircut and a cheap suit. He shakes hands with them both and leads them to the holding cells. There they see a disheveled, but otherwise unharmed, Quincy.

“You have fifteen minutes,” Loomis reminds them, and leaves.

Brianna turns to Quincy. “Quincy, what the hell happened?”

“I had a date. We went to my hotel room. I woke up and her throat was cut. We were covered in blood. I called the police. They brought me in.”

“Was there a murder weapon?” Brianna asks.

“The knife was in my hand when I woke up.”

“It wasn’t your knife?”

“No.”

“What are doing back in Seattle?”

Quincy says, “You remember I was contacting family members?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, one family member here in Seattle, I was checking in one. He’s in a bad way. I was concerned.”

“Had you met this date before?” Brianna asks, getting back to the point.

“No.”

“Where did you meet said date?”

“At one of the bars on Pioneer Square,” He gives Brianna the name. He also gives Brianna the name of the hotel he’s been staying in.

“Have you contacted anyone else? Have you contacted home?” Brianna asks.

“No, just you. And a lawyer. I knew you did business in Seattle before and may know some people.”

Brianna frowns. “The people I know don’t like me. Can you be more specific about our family member in Seattle being in a bad way or is this not the place for that?”

Quincy sighs. “His name is Paul Cannon. He’s a raging alcoholic. He lost his family in a car accident. He was driving.”

“Do you need me to check up on him as well?”

“I wouldn’t”

“Do you remember anything odd about your evening?”

“No, not until I woke up that night. Well, that’s not true. The balcony door was open. It was closed when we went to bed. I’m sure of it.”

“What was the woman’s name?” Brianna asks.

“Chandra. Chandra Hinckley.”

“Did she tell you anything about herself? Was she from Seattle?

“She was from Seattle. She was a flight attendant.”

“Does she come from any unusual family backgrounds?” Brianna asks, arching an eyebrow, hoping Quincy catches her meaning.

“No, nothing unusual,” he says.

“Anything about the knife that you could tell?”

“No.”

Loomis comes into the holding area. “Time’s up.”

Brianna turns to him. “Is my cousin allowed a call a day?”

“He’s allowed a call at a my discretion.”

“Well, Quincy, you have my number. Call me when the lawyer shows up and I’ll let you know what I find out.”

Brianna and Joey make their way out of the holding area with Loomis following on their heels. Once they get out of the holding area, Loomis touches Brianna on the arm. She turns around quickly, her temper flaring. He says, “I would advise you not to be interfering in the investigation.”

“I would advise you to catch the asshole who’s framing my cousin,” Brianna shoots back.

Loomis cocks an eyebrow. “If there’s something you know that I don’t, I’m all ears.”

“Not as of yet,” Brianna says.

“Good. Because right now, I have a man covered in blood with a murder weapon in his hand.”

“My cousin wouldn’t take a knife and cut someone’s throat in the middle of the night.”

Loomis leans forward, conspiratorially, “I find it interesting that you didn’t say he wouldn’t kill, but that just not how he would do it.”

Brianna steps back, bristling. “I take people framing my family members very seriously. Why don’t we figure out who really killed this young woman?”

“Then we’re on the same page. Good day, Ms. Karkana.”

Brianna leaves the precinct house angry. As they get in the car, Brianna turns to Joey and says, “I fucking hate Seattle.”

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