The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Chains (Part One)

Karkana Chronicles Seven

January 28, 2013

After waking up from her long sleep after her encounter with the lycanthropes, she goes out and buys a burner cellphone and contacts the local Warden, Leilani Capstone.

She calls the number she was given and finds a lot of interference on the line. She hears a stern woman’s voice on the other end of the line. “This is Capstone.”

“Is this the Warden?”

“Yes.”

“I have some information you might be interested in. There’s a family of lycanthropes about 30 miles from town picking people up and taking them out in the woods, driving them before them like some kind of blood sport.”

“I would be interested in that.”

“Good. They picked me and my friend up last night and that was not a very pleasant experience.”

“They let you go?”

“We got away.”

“I need more information.”

Brianna gives the Warden a general description of where she thinks the farmhouse was and of Lucas Tierney, as well as the man’s name and of Eustace.

“Okay, I’ll look into it,” Capstone says.

“Good. I imagine they’re intentionally targeting mortals. I don’t know that everybody’s going to be as lucky as we were to get away.”

“It sounds like you’re not a mortal, then?” Capstone observes.

“No.

“Well, thank you for the tip-off.”

“You’re welcome.” Brianna hangs up the phone.

Brianna leaves the burner phone in her room. She places the lycanthrope’s wallet and pocketknife in an envelope and puts that under her mattress. She also finds a sling in their various medical supplies for the ring and places her broken arm in it. Being a vampire, all she needs is time for it to heal, but in the meantime, she’ll need to sling it.

She and Joey load up in the car and head to Edgefield. Brianna wants to check out the grounds of this Accorded neutral ground.

It’s quite impressive. 70+ acres of farmland with a hotel and brewery. Spa. Meeting rooms. While there, she is met by a groundskeeper/host by the name of Solomon Chalmers. Pure Iowa farm boy. He gives her his card. Then she and Joey have a beer in the nearby pub. It’s good beer.

January 29, 2013 – February 19, 2013

Over the next few weeks, Brianna is gathering various bits of information:

She wants to find out where various members of the supernatural community gather. She discovers that the wee folk tend to gather at Mill Ends Park. She also discovers that the Summer Envoy has a club called The Green Lady that he frequents, especially during the off-seasons. The Winter Envoy, she holds Court, holds it in the Elysian Ballroom. And she is also warned that at a group of weres frequents Forest Park.

She also keeps her ear to the ground and hears that the lycanthropes outside of town were, indeed, busted by the Warden. She and Joey have a beer and drink to that.

She also gets a phone call from her cousin Quincy. “The Patriarch sends his regards.” So word did apparently trickle down to him about her exploits in Seattle. She thanks him letting her know.

Brianna has also noted some strange mishaps going on with some fights. Nothing she can put her finger on, but it seems like some fights that were going well for some fighters would suddenly go south do to some streak of just bad luck. Enough to form more than a coincidence in her mind, but not enough to form a pattern. Strange.

On February 19th, she gets a text from Carl to meet at 8pm on the 20th.

February 20, 2013 (8:00 pm)

Brianna and Joey arrive at Barry’s Drafthouse to meet Carl.

“What are drinking, Carl?” Brianna asks.

“Stout.”

Brianna orders stouts for everyone and gets a table.

“So,” Brianna starts, “How are things at the warehouse?”

“Pretty much the usual,” Carl says, “except for the thing which I though should know about.”

“Okay.”

“The bosses have been meeting with a suit for the past couple of days. I don’t know who he is. But he seems intense.”

“Intense how?”

Carl shakes his head. “I can’t put my finger on it.”

“Okay, can you describe the suit? Or have you heard a name dropped?”

“He’s in his 30s. Glasses. Looks like an accountant.”

“Are they treating him like a boss or an accountant?”

“They’re treating him like a client. I’ve heard a name. Mr. Rupert.”

“That’s definitely interesting.”

“I don’t think this guy’s an accountant,” Carl says.

“Chances are good that he’s not,” Brianna says. “Does Mr. Rupert arrive with assistants are does he arrive by himself?”

“By himself.”

“Does he have a routine?”

“He comes in the morning about 8:00 am. He drives a dark sedan. He leaves for lunch with the bosses. They meet again in the afternoon.”

“Do you ever see Rupert leave with anything?”

“No.”

“That is interesting. This bears investigation on my end. This is the type of information I want to know. If you hear anything more that illuminates any more as to this exact business relationship, let me know.”

Brianna slips Carl some bills for the information, then she and Joey take their leave.

When they get home, Brianna tries searching the net for Mr. Rupert, but gets so many hits as to be useless. She then gets back out and buys and some binoculars at Walmart.

February 21, 2013

Brianna and Joey head over to Gould’s new headquarters and scope out a new stakeout position with cover. They begin a new surveillance of the place in hopes of seeing this “Mr. Rupert.”.

They see a dark, non-descript sedan pull up to the parking lot and a man get out. He’s handsome, in a very vanilla kind of way, in his early to mid-thirties, wearing glasses. Brianna notices a gun bulge in his jacket. She also notices a confidence in him that is belied by his weak appearance. She can see the intensity Carl was talking about. His weakness is a fa├žade. Brianna notes his license plate number. They are Oregon plates.

They wait. Around lunchtime, He, Gould, and Pixie Hair come out and get in Gould’s car to go to lunch. Pixie Hair sits up front while Rupert and Gould sit in the back. Gould seems unctuous and deferential to Rupert. Around an hour and half later, they return. After a lot of hand shaking and good byes, Rupert returns to his car. He is carrying a small, plastic case.

Joey follows Rupert’s car. Rupert notices him but can’t seem to shake him. Brianna tells Joey to let him go, they’re already made. Rupert drives off.

They go back to the warehouse and stake them out again. Around 5 pm, Gould emerges and leaves. Around 7pm, Pixie Hair emerges and leaves. They follow her again and she leads them to her apartment building in Beaverton. This time, they note which apartment is hers before driving away.

That night, they head to the fights so that Brianna can sip/feed. It’s a typical night of mingling and watching. Afterwards, they head home.

At home, Brianna is awakened by a sound coming from Joey’s room. She quietly makes her way into the room and notices that his window is open a crack. She shuts the door and flips on the light.

Joey stirs. “What?”

“Joey, something’s in your room. Your window’s open. I don’t know if it’s still here.”

“I don’t see nothing.”

“We need to see if anything of ours has been moved or taken. Shut your window.”

“Joey gets up and shuts the window. Brianna looks out the window and sees nothing out of the ordinary.

Joey begins to search the room. While searching a corner, he comes away biting his thumb. “Ow! Sonofabitch!” and a small figure on a glowing nimbus of light flies over his head declaring “That’s enough of that!” The small figure wields a stick pin like a sword.

Brianna approaches the floating figure, menacingly. “I’m going to rip your wings off!”

It raises its hands, placating. It’s male, has green and yellow hair, and wears a little brown pouch around its neck. “Let’s keep things friendly, lady.”

“You broke into MY house and did who knows what to my friend,” Brianna says.

“Now, now, I didn’t hurt anybody. Just a little harmless snip-snip. Nobody hurt. Just helping my friend.”

After a very laborious conversation with the pixie, it comes out that he is helping his friend, Sydney, who’s a sorcerer, pay off a debt to “The Man”. This “Man” is keeping her prisoner in a house and making her do spells against fighters to fix fights to pay off this debt. She inherited the debt from her father. Syd is apparently guarded by men in this house. Brianna doesn’t like that Sydney is being held prisoner, but she also doesn’t like someone messing with “her” fighters. The pixie is called Regi.

First of all, Brianna gets Regi to dump his pouch. He does. It seems to be full of clippings of Joey’s hair.

“Can you get a message to Sydney, Regi?” Brianna asks.

Regi nods.

“I need her to leave my fighters alone. She’s messing in my territory. Ask her if she needs help. Maybe there’s some sort of arrangement we can come to.”

Regi salutes and Joey opens the window. Regi bolts.

Joey comments that this town just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

Brianna tells Joey to dispose of the hair clippings, there’s no telling what someone could do with them.

Then they go to bed.

February 22, 2013

This morning Brianna and Joey drive by Gould’s warehouse to see if Rupert’s car is there. It is not.

They return a little before lunch and stake out the warehouse. Joey follows Gould’s car as it leaves for lunch, but he is made and shaken off. He doesn’t know where Gould went.

That night, they go to the fights. Brianna sip/feeds. She tries to pay attention to the odds and if anything odd happens tonight during the fights. She doesn’t notice anything out of sorts.

They go home and crack a window in the living room in case Regi returns. Brianna stays up waiting for him. Sure enough, late that night, a nimbus of light enters the cracked window and she hears a voice.

“Don’t be hasty lady, it’s just me. Regi. I have a message from Sydney. She says she needs help. If she stops, she defaults.”

“Do you know if she owes money or something else?” Brianna asks.

“Money,” Regi says.

“How much?”

“$50,000.”

Brianna whistles. “Has she made any headway on the $50,000?”

Regi shrugs.

“Is this house guarded.”

“There’s men.”

“Inside and outside the home?”

“Yes.”

TO BE CONTINUED

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