The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Emerald City (Part Two)

Karkana Chronicles Five

January 6, 2013 (Near midnight)

Brianna Karkana and Madeline Raith drive through Seattle with a Red Court vampire in their trunk. Brianna is behind the wheel. “Where are we going?” she asks Madeline.

“Drive to the waterfront,” Madeline says.

Both hear a loud THUNK come from the trunk. Brianna drives.

THUNK.

“We better have a plan when we get there because she’s gong to be pissed,” Brianna says.

THUNK

“We’re going to need chains. Thick ones,” Madeline says.

“They might have some at the waterfront. Like to moor a boat?”

“We need a place to hold her,” Madeline muses.

“It’s got to be sunlight-proof unless you want to hand ash-covered chains over to the Margrave.”

THUNK

“Did you have a place in mind or are we just on the lookout for something that looks promising?”

“We’ll be on the lookout,” Madeline says.

THUNK

Eventually, they arrive at the waterfront. Brianna starts driving around, looking for an appropriate abandoned warehouse or office space they can use.

THUNK

Brianna finds a For Lease sign on a fence in front of a warehouse. The fence’s gate is locked with a padlock. Brianna parks the car and goes to the gate.

THUNK

Brianna breaks the lock, takes the small chain that was wrapped around the two parts of the gate, and then returns to the car to drive it through the gate. She stops, goes back and shuts the gate behind her. She then drives up to the warehouse.

THUNK

“Maybe we should look for some chains before we let her out,” Madeline observes.

Brianna nods. “And a lock or something to secure them with.” Brianna shuts off the car and gets out of the car.

THUNK

The warehouse is two stories high. There is a large set of bay doors along this facing wall and a smaller door towards the left end that probably leads to an office. Brianna and Madeline head over to the bay doors. They are locked with another padlock.

Brianna notices the flicker of a flashlight coming around the side of the building. “Pst. Madeline. There’s someone coming with a flashlight.”

Madeline turns and heads towards the light. Brianna stays at the bay doors.

As the figure rounds the corner, Madeline strikes him in the throat. As he chokes, Madeline strikes again, lightning fast, and the man falls. Madeline bends down and examines the unconscious man, takes his flashlight, and then saunters back over to Brianna.

“Does he have any keys” Brianna asks.

Madeline brandishes a key chain.

“Security guard,” Brianna observes.

“Or a groundskeeper—somebody keeping an eye on the place. So lets go inside.”

Brianna unlocks the bay doors and opens them. Both women go inside and start looking around. The layout is pretty straightforward—large warehouse space, restrooms, and small office. Brianna observes that the key chain has more keys than there are doors here. On the floor of the warehouse, Brianna does find a set of old, rusty chains. There is a door on the other side of the warehouse. Brianna unlocks it and goes to check for another gate and another padlock. Behind the warehouse is a parked pickup truck. Beyond the truck, Brianna sees another gate. She goes to the gate and finds another chain and padlock. She unlocks the lock and takes it and the chain back to the warehouse.

From outside, the two hear another THUNK come from their trunk.

“Is he dead or just disabled?” Brianna asks, referring to the groundskeeper.

“I didn’t kill him,” Madeline says.

Brianna drives the car into the warehouse. Madeline follows and shuts the bay doors. Brianna leaves the headights on for light. The two women then look for a place to put their prisoner. They decide on the restroom.

Brianna goes to the trunk. “Are you ready?” she asks. Madeline nods and then positions herself to open the trunk. Madeline opens it and then Brianna steps forward to take the brunt of whatever is coming.

They see the blonde woman popup from the floor of the trunk. Brianna pins her to the back of the trunk lid. Alissa punches at Brianna and misses. Brianna then grabs a hold of Alissa to haul her out of the trunk. Alissa breaks free, yelling “Who the fuck are you people? Do you have any idea who I am?”

Brianna says, “We have a very good idea who you are,” as she pins her to the trunk lid again. Alissa punches Brianna in the face. Brianna goes to haul her out again, but Alissa breaks free. Then Madeline steps forward and backhands the Red Court vamp.

“We’re going to let you out of that trunk. You’re going to be still. Or we drain you,” Madeline says.

Brianna stands there and looks intimidating. Alissa ignores Madeline, but realizes that Brianna means business. “Alright,” she says, “Only because this is getting ridiculous.”

Brianna assists her out of the trunk. Alissa stands there in the warehouse, hands on her hips. “What do you want?”

“To get your sire’s attention.” Brianna stays in Alissa’s personal space, being intimidating.

“Oh, you’ll get it. You won’t want it, but you’ll get it.”

Madeline makes a “shall we?” motion and Alissa starts walking. Brianna walks right behind her. Madeline leads the way.

Alissa then elbows Brianna in the face. Brianna shoves her to throw her off-balance. Alissa then sheds her flesh-mask, revealing her bestial, bat-like form. She claws at Brianna and misses. Then Madeline grapples Alissa to the ground and starts feeding. Alissa breaks free by clawing Madeline.

“Drain the bitch,” Madeline yells.

Brianna goes to grapple the Red Court vamp, but can’t get a grip on her. Alissa slashes her across the belly. Madeline goes to punch Alissa, but misses. Brianna punches her in the face. Alissa goes to claw Brianna again and misses. Then Madeline performs a spectacular roundhouse kick and breaks Alissa’s ribs. Alissa raises her hands in surrender and her flesh-mask oozes back into place.

“I’ll do what you ask,” she says.

“That’s the first intelligent thing you’ve said today,” Brianna says.

The two White Court vampires chain Alissa up in the restroom and then push her to back of the dark room, away from the door. They take her cellphone, keys, and wallet and leave the restroom.

Madeline checks the cellphone. “Let’s see if she has a number for Daddy.” The phone is locked. They go back into the restroom, shine the flashlight on Alissa, and ask her for phone code.

“Go to hell,” she says.

Brianna gets in Alissa’s face and holds her head. “Give us the code.”

“Why should I tell you?”

“Because I’ve not fed tonight and you’re looking awfully tasty.”

Alissa blushes and looks away. “6787”

Madeline opens up the phone and goes to the contacts list. There she finds a number for Alfonse Velasquez. “We have a number,” Madeline announces.

Brianna says, “You want to have this conversation at the car?”

Madeline nods and the two leave Alissa in the room as they head back to the main warehouse and the car.

“That was an impressive kick,” Brianna says as they walk.

Madeline smiles. “I’m able to take care of myself on occasion.”

“I can appreciate that.”

Madeline muses aloud. “We have the girl, we have the number. What to do now?”

“We also have an unconscious guard we have to do something with.”

Brianna’s phone rings. It’s Joey. “I’m sorry, I need to take this,” Brianna says and walks away. “What’s up?” she says into the phone.

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

“Where’s Joey?” Brianna’s fury is instant and barely contained.

“He’s fine. He’s right here. I find that I have been giving some thought to our arrangement. You see, what always bothered me about it was how one-sided it was. You took my product off the market. I think it’s only fair I do the same to you.”

“If you hurt him, I will fucking kill you.”

“Now, now, don’t get excited.”

“It’s a little late for that.”

Gould chuckles. “However, I do have a counteroffer. We could join forces. That way we both get what we want. You have one day. You should consider the offer.” And he hangs up.

Brianna throws her phone. “God fucking…” she says, then screams incoherently.

Madeline stares at the display.

Brianna mutters, “I should have killed him when I had the chance.” She then turns to Madeline. “You remember when I said I need to go back to Portland if things went south? Things just went south.”

“So you’re abandoning me,” Madeline says.

Brianna screams in frustration. “I have a day to respond to terms before they kill my man. What all still needs to happen here?”

Madeline speaks calmly. “We have an unconscious guard to take care of. Then I plan on calling Velasquez.”

“Let’s take care of this guard. I need to think.”

Brianna recovers her thrown phone and goes to look at the guard—but he’s not where they left him. Brianna runs around the corner to where the pickup is parked. There she sees the guard, slowly making his way to to the truck. Brianna runs and catches up to the man just as he reaches the truck. She pulls the man back, knocking him off-balance. The guard takes a swing at her, but misses. Brianna then throws the man to the ground and begins to feed. The man starts to become crazed, frothing at the mouth with rage. Brianna feeds until he falls unconscious. She then sets the man in the truck’s passenger and shuts the door, noting in the moonlight the bruising on the man’s neck from where Madeline had punched him earlier.

Brianna heads back to where Madeline still waits. “He’s out again,” she tells her, “We need to get him out of here.”

Madeline says, “If we take him somewhere else, he’ll just come back, bringing others with him.”

“What is it you want me to do, Madeline?”

“Kill him. Then take him somewhere else.”

Brianna is quiet for a moment. Then she says, “You hired me to protect you, not kill for you.”

“In this case, you’d be doing both.”

Brianna heads back to the truck and drains the guard of his life force. He dies with a rictus of rage upon his face. She then heads back to Madeline, grinding her teeth.

“Is it done?” Madeline asks.

“Yes.”

“Good.”

“I’m going to need to head back to Portland.”

“Then we have a dilemma. I need the car.”

“I can rent myself my own damn car,” Brianna growls.

“Are you planning on walking from here?” Madeline asks.

“Optimally, no.”

“Then I say again, we have a dilemma.”

Brianna shifts on her feet. “I have twenty-four hours and my time is ticking.”

“If you take the car,” Madeline explains carefully, “I won’t have it. I’ll be abandoned here.”

“You could take me somewhere or I could take you.”

“And leave her alone?” Madeline points toward the restroom.

“This phone call with Velasquez, does that end it or will I be guarding his get for weeks?”

Madeline shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“What were you planning to do before I got my phone call? Was the plan for me to stay here while you went and did something? Was the plan for me to go an deliver anything for you?”

“The plan was to call Velasquez. Illuminate him as to the truth of the situation, and see what form of satisfaction he would offer.”

Brianna nods. “Alright. Are you making that call here?”

“I was planning on it.”

“Do it.”

Madeline pulls out Alissa’s phone and hits dial on a number in the contacts list. After a moment, she says, “This isn’t Alissa. This is Madeline Raith.”

“She’s fine. Cowed, but fine.”

“What do I want? This is question everyone is asking. What does Madeline want? I want satisfaction. Your fool tried to kill me. He failed. He failed three times. That can’t stand.”

“Perry doesn’t speak for me.”

"I"m glad to hear that. It took a lot of work to get your attention."

“Don’t be gauche. This isn’t 1812.”

“Interesting. Proxies, huh?”

“What about Accorded neutral ground?”

“I see.”

“I’ll have your oath on that.”

“Safe passage and hospitality.”

“I’d be willing to do that.”

“Tonight then.”

Madeline hangs up, looking thoughtful. “This Alfonse if very Old World. He has some quaint ideas. But he possibly outlined a way to satisfy me. I the Old World, such a situation would call for a duel. But he says such an act may be beneath us and too much is at stake if either of us falls. But we could win through proxies.”

Madeline looks at Brianna. “Would this be something you’re willing to do? I will meet with him tonight at LaPorte to work out the details.”

Brianna asks, “If I do this for you, do I have to go time to go home and take care of business?”

“Do you know how long your business will take?”

Brianna sighs. “There’s a lot of variables. I’m being pushed to make this decision in twenty-four hours. If I can’t eliminate the problem, the decision is made for me.”

“I could make this meeting alone and delay the duel.”

“Will you be safe?”

“I am reasonably confident that he will follow his oath. If you’re asking my permission to leave, you won’t have it.”

“Let me get you back to the hotel and I will see how much of this I can get worked out over the phone,” Brianna offers.

Madeline says, “Because I already got his attention, I offered to release her as a peace offering.”

“I wish I’d had that piece of information before I killed that man.”

“If wishes were kittens…” Madeline says.

“I’ll go let the happy daughter know,” Brianna says and stalks back to the restroom. She sets Alissa’s wallet and keys down on the floor and then she approaches the chained vampire. “Lucky for you. There’s been an arrangement with your father. We’re letting you go.” Brianna gets in her face. “I’m going to unchain you. My expectation is that you’re going to behave and not come after me. But I’ve had a really, really shitty night and I almost hope you do. Because I feel like I need to beat the fuck out of someone.”

Alissa hangs her head down and nods, cowed. Brianna unlocks the padlock. She makes sure there’s enough slack to start unraveling the chain and then backs up, allowing Alissa to free herself. As Alissa works, Brianna turns around and walks back out to Madeline.

“Were you planning to keep the phone?” she asks Madeline when she comes out.

“No.”

Brianna holds out her hand and Madeline hands her Alissa’s phone. She then returns to the restroom and sets the phone on the floor with the wallet and keys. “Here’s your phone. You’re going to need to call for a ride.”

She heads out again and meets Madeline. The two get in the car and head back to the Hotel Sorrento.

January 7, 2013 (Early Morning)

Once Madeline takes her shower and heads to bed, Brianna tells her that she’s going to making some phone calls and that she’ll try to keep her voice down.

Brianna gets out her phone and calls Joey’s number.

Gould answers the phone. “Is this Brianna?”

“Yes.”

“Good. You’ve made a decision.”

“I’ve called to talk. First, before we get into negotiations, I need to know Joey is okay. So I need you to put Joey on the phone.”

“I can do that. One moment.”

After a moment, Brianna hears Joey’s voice. “Bri?”

“Joey, have they hurt you?” Brianna asks.

“I’ve felt better,” Joey says.

“Who was it?”

“Now may not be the best time,” Joey says, wary.

Gould’s voice interrupts. “See. Safe and sound.”

“This is all about your product,” Brianna says.

“This is all about business and how it is conducted,” Gould says.

“How so? What is it you really want, Gould?”

“To conduct my business unimpeded.”

“I don’t care where you conduct your business, just not in my territory.”

“Well that’s just it…who’s territory is it, really? You’ve not been in town very long,” Gould says.

“No, but I’m planning to stay here,” Brianna says.

Gould sighs. “What is the point of this conversation?”

“You talked about us both getting what we want. If we work together. I want to know exactly what that means.”

“I can work without impediment. You keep your territory.”

“I can get you back your book, your wand, your ledger. They’re obviously something of great value, otherwise you wouldn’t be sending Pixie Hair to find them. Perhaps she’s having trouble with her spells? I just don’t want you selling that crap to my fighters, polluting my feeding grounds.”

“Oh yes,” Gould says, “Silas mentioned that you were of the White Court.”

“I figured he might.”

“Then we have a problem. Such fighters are our most advantageous customers.”

“Portland’s a big city. There should be other opportunities. The professional sports market, for one. I’m surprised you haven’t gotten ambitious and sold the stuff overseas. I’m sure mercenaries, countries at war, would pay for it. It seems like quite a bit of money to be made, not just off my men.”

“There are limitations to the process,” Gould growls.

“Possibly, but I’m sure you’re a very competent businessperson that can work around such things.”

“So I take it you’re not interested in my offer.”

“I need you to be very specific and tell me what your offer is,” Brianna says.

“My offer is to let your friend go if you agree to let me conduct my business unimpeded. And return what you stole from me. I would like to have a more cooperative relationship with you, but now I’m not sure that is feasible,” Gould says.

“If I agree to this, yes you let Joey go. but he becomes a price you do not touch again.”

“I would hope we would not need to.”

“I would think so too. If you feel the need to have words, you will have them with me, not him.”

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”

“Then I will agree to return what I stole from you. I will not impede your business.”

“Good. I think we understand each other.”

“Put him back on the phone.”

There’s a bit of a shuffle on the line and then Brianna hears Joey’s voice again. “Yeah?”

“They should be letting you go. We’re returning what we took. I’m not impeding his business.”

“Alright,” Joey says.

“I need you to arrange a drop. I hope to be back in the next few days. We’ll discuss outr next plan of action from there.”

“Okay.”

“Be careful.”

“I thought I was.”

“I want more frequent updates.”

Gould’s voice is back on the line. “Ms. Machine is releasing your boy now.”

“Good,” Brianna says, “Then I guess we are done here.”

“And my belongings?”

“My man will be arranging a drop location for you. You should have them shortly.”

“Good. Enjoy the Emerald City, Ms. Karkana.” Gould hangs up.

Brianna takes a shower, carefully as to not awake Madeline. She tosses her outfit in her bag of destroyed clothing and sets her alarm for 8 am.

January 7, 2013 (8 am)

Brianna does her exercises and then makes two cups of coffee. She knocks on Madeline’s door. Madeline answers in her bathrobe and thankfully takes a cup of coffee.

“The situation has been stabilized, for now,” Brianna says.

“I would not have thought of you as a negotiator.”

“I’m not sure it was much of a negotiation, but concessions when someone’s going to kill one who belongs to you.”

Madeline smirks and says “There were many concessions last night.”

Brianna says, “True. The crux of it is, I can be your proxy.”

“Good. Then we can meet Velasquez tonight.”

“On a purely practical note, I’m going to need to buy more clothes. I’m wearing the only outfit that isn’t burned, shredded, or bled upon. And if there is to be a formal meeting tonight, I wish to be properly attired.”

Madeline shrugs. “We have all day. There are shops nearby.”

The two women get ready and head out to go shopping. Brianna gets professional assistant attire and one set of practical workout clothes, as well as a sexy manager outfit (stunning and deadly). Madeline helps her pick out the outfits.

Back at the hotel, Madeline tells Brianna she needs to contact Perry and excuses herself. Brianna, meanwhile, gets texts from Joey informing her that he made it home alright and that the drop was made. He also apologizes for getting caught. She texts back that its not his fault and that we’ll fix it.

Finally, the time comes to get ready to go to La Porte Triple. Brianna decides to leave her gun behind.

They leave the car with the valet and head inside. Vanessa meets them at the hostess station. This time she recognizes Madeline. “Ah, Ms. Raith. You are expected.” She directs them to the third door. Once they get inside, they up to the ramp and are met by a ticket man who also recognizes Madeline and directs them to Room 4. They go down a hallway full of doors until they come to Room 4. Brianna raps on the door and a large man in a black suit answers the door. He seems to recognize Madeline as well and motions for the two of them to enter.

There are several well-dressed people milling about, socializing and several others watching the performance out of the glass. Through muted speakers one can hear the music from down below. Against one wall is a grand chair and in it is a distinguished looking gentleman in a grey and white beard. He motions for Madeline and Brianna to come closer. The doorman takes up a guard position beside him. Brianna does the same with Madeline.

The man stands and introduces himself to Madeline. “I am Alfonse Velasquez, Margrave of the Red Court of Seattle.” He speaks with a faint Spanish accent. “Forgive me if I don’t kiss your hand, but I’ve heard your kind may take advantage.”

“That would be bad form with safe passage and hospitality,” Madeline says, carefully.

“Of course,” Velasquez says. He motions to a few of the people near him and chairs are brought for Madeline and Brianna. “Please. Sit.”

Brianna continues to stand.

“I believe we were waiting for Perry to show up. A remarkable young man, but I like your ideas better,” Alfonse says, addressing Madeline.

“Remarkable, yes,” Madeline agrees with a deadpan expression.

There is a knock at the door. The guard answers it and it is Perry. Brianna gives him a side-eye. “I hope I didn’t miss anything,” he says.

“Just introductions,” Madeline says.

“I believe that there is precedent in the Accords for what is being proposed. Though I think this interpretation and use of it is ill advised,” Perry says.

“Only because you don’t get your precious concessions,” Madeline says, mildly.

Perry gives her a dirty look. “But it is elegant in its simplicity, I suppose.”

Madeline shakes her head.

“But as the representative of the Raiths, will you accept the results?” Alfonse asks Perry.

“I have been in consultation with Lord Raith and we will accept this if it will satisfy Madeline.”

“Excellent, then,” Alfonse says, “Then the details. It will be to the death, yes?”

“Of course. Blood for blood,” Madeline says.

“There is a warehouse, on the waterfront,” Alfonse gives an address. “This will serve as a venue.”

“I’m not certain we’re comfortable with having the venue chosen for us,” Perry says.

Alfonse shrugs. “You don’t know the city. I am happy to help.”

“While we’re doing concessions, I’ll concede that part,” Perry says wryly.

“The date and time I will choose,” Madeline says. “I choose tomorrow night at 10 pm.”

“Very good, very good,” Alfonse says. “Have you chosen a proxy yet?”

“I have.”

“Excellent, so have I.”

“Is there anything else?” Madeline asks.

“Only one thing. If you touch my get again, your entrails will litter Pioneer Square.”

“And you may be certain that anyone sent to kill me will meet with a similar fate.”

Alfonse smiles. “With that out of the way, I think that concludes our business.”

“Thank you, Alfonse,” Madeline says. “Under other circumstances, it would have been a pleasure.”

Alfonse nods. “My thoughts exactly.”

Madeline turns and leaves the room, Brianna following behind closely with Perry behind her.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this,” Perry says as they walk down the hall. “And I can’t believe you’re agreeing to it.”

Brianna keeps her face blank. “Are you sure this is a conversation we should be having in this place?”

“I told you before,” Madeline says, “it solves everything.”

“Except for the holdings.”

“Fuck the holdings,” Madeline hisses. “The King agreed did he not?”

“Not the point.”

“No, the point is that this little trip was not the feather in yours and Lara’s cap you hoped for. Now shut up, sit back, and watch the show.”

Perry stalks off in disgust. Brianna shakes her head after him.

Brianna and Madeline retrieve the car and head back to the hotel. Once there, Madeline gets in the shower. Brianna calls her cousin Quincy.

“Quincy.”

“Brianna.”

“Any word on our cousins or is it as we suspected?”

“It’s as we suspected. They were all taken out.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Yeah.”

“First and foremost, I’ve got some information that Jason may need. I’m currently employed as a bodyguard to one of the Raith nobles visiting Portland. The Margrave of the Red Court in Seattle tried to have her killed, which I stopped. However, there is now a blood debt and to the noble by the Red Court. I’ve agreed to fight as a Proxy on her behalf. I did not realize that when I accepted the first job it would evolve into such a political situation for a member of the House of Karkana. And I hope to do our House proud tomorrow.”

“Well, good luck,” Quincy says.

“Thank you. This is something I didn’t want rumor of to get back to the Patriarch.”

“I understand.”

January 8, 2013

Brianna spends the morning exercising until Madeline gets up and announces that she’s been on the phone with Mistress Felicia. She’s going to feed.

The two head out to Capitol Hill to Mistress Felicia’s townhouse. Brianna parks the car.

“If you want, you can wait in the car,” Madeline says.

“That’s far away if something happens,” Brianna says.

“I’m not anticipating any trouble here.”

“How long do you anticipate being in there?”

“A couple of hours.”

Brianna walks Madeline to the door, which is answered by the leather-clad doorman, but ends up waiting in the car. Two hours a later, a very flush Madeline returns.

“Back to the hotel?” Brianna asks, “Or were there other plans?”

“Nope.”

The two head back to the hotel.

At about 10 pm, the two arrive at the warehouse that Velasquez indicated. Before they go inside, Brianna asks Madeline. “If things don’t go as planned tonight, please make sure my man finds out.” Madeline says okay.

The interior of the warehouse is empty, though the lights are on. Inside are the Margrave, Perry, the Margrave’s bodyguard in workout clothes, Alissa, and a number of other security members stationed around the room.

Alfonse takes in Brianna in her workout clothes and comments that she is a very “fetching proxy”. He then calls for “Mikolaj” to come forward and the bodyguard comes forward. “You both heard the terms of the conflict, yes?” Both nod. “Good. You will go to opposite ends of the room. When Alissa—you remember Alissa, yes?—when Alissa says Start!, you will come to the middle and start the fight. Understand?”

Brianna says “Yes,” and moves to one end of the room. MIkolaj moves to the other.

Alissa yells, “Start!”

Both combatants rush to the center of the room. Only, instead of a large hulking male bodyguard, Brianna is now facing a hulking male ghoul with a mouthful of teeth and long claws. Brianna sweeps the thing’s leg to knock it off-balance and the ghoul rakes its claws across her arm. Brianna then grapples the thing to the ground and begins to incite rage in it, feeding off of the emotion as she holds it down. The ghoul manages to claw its way out of Brianna’s hold, but Brianna grabs it again and begins to feed. It tries to break free, but cannot. It becomes more and more frenzied in its rage beneath Brianna’s relentless attack but, finally, is still.

Brianna stands up, flush with feeding and victory. “It’s done.”

Alfonse shakes his head, “Mikolaj, Mikolaj…” He then turns to Madeline. “Does this satisfy?”

Madeline looks at Mikolaj, then at Alissa. “Yes. I think I’ve said what I have to say.”

Brianna saunters over to the group, sleek and well-fed.

“I think we’re done here.” He exits the room with Alissa and his security detail.

Brianna looks at Madeline and smiles.

“Come, Brianna. I think our business in Seattle is done,” Madeline says.

Perry follows silently.

Brianna looks at Perry. “When you speak of this to Lord Raith, I hope you speak well of my House.” Perry nods. She nods back.

Brianna and Madeline head back to the hotel. As the two pack, Brianna asks Madeline if she’s heading back to Portland.

“I think I’ll travel abroad for awhile,” she says. “I’ll arrange for a flight to Portland for you tomorrow.”

“It’s been interesting working for you,” Brianna says.

“Good.”

January 9, 2013

Brianna’s flight for Portland has been arranged. Brianna leaves her gun with Madeline, as she can’t take it on the plane. She’ll just have to owe Nerise a gun.

Before Brianna gets in the taxi taking her to the airport, she thanks Madeline for the opportunity. Madeline, in turn, says, “Thank you. You put your life on the line for me. I won’t forget that.” The two women shake hands.

On the way, Brianna texts Joey with the flight information he’ll need to pick her up from PDX.

A few hours later, Brianna arrives back in Portland.

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