November 4, 2012 (Sunday)
That morning, Brianna and Joey go out to Sibley’s Gym and workout. They are also looking for signs of any unusual activity or supernatural activity. There’s a bit of a pall in the air, nothing odd. It’s quiet and Sib peers out of his office from time to time to look out over the floor, but nothing unusual in that.
Brianna takes the opportunity to spar with another woman fighter. The fight goes badly for her. First Bri gets her “bell rung”, and then she gets taken out of the fight with a mild concussion. She goes out with grace, however, shaking hands with her opponent. Joey comments that she needs to work on her footwork.
Brianna recovers quickly from the consequences of her fight over the day, however, as they go out to other gyms and claim to want to sign up and take the opportunity to check out those clubs for unusual activity and get a sense of names and faces. All of the gyms are of a type—working class, old but clean, and very male-dominated. There’s a wide variety of weight classes of fighter in the gym, everywhere from bantam to heavy. Joey comments that in all the gyms the vibe is off, like somebody died or something. The problem is, in most cases, somebody has. . .
Around 5pm Brianna calls Mel and asks if there is an “event” tonight. He says that there is. “Good,” she says, “We’d like to attend.” He tells her the preliminaries are at 8pm and the main event is at midnight. She also tells Mel that she checked out some of the gyms around town and the mood seemed off. He agreed that this “curse” thing was getting to people.
At 8pm, the two arrive at the fight venue. Rick the Doorman lets them in. Once inside, Bri begins checking out the crowd. She sidles up to a guy she recognizes from Sibley’s Gym.
“Hey,” she says.
“It’s all right. Not as good as the main event’ll be.”
“Yeah. They got a ringer in from Kansas City for that. Should be interesting.”
“Sorry about Pete. Seems like everyone’s chalking this up to the ‘curse’.”
The guy crosses himself.
“I guess you think so too?” Brianna says.
“Better safe than sorry, you know?”
“They say it started with ‘The Scorpion’.”
“That’s what they say.”
“Was there anything wrong with Pete that morning?”
“Nah, he seemed fine. He had come in from a night with the ladies in a good mood. Came in, did his workout, was waiting for a spar and then, bam.”
“Did you know Pete’s lady?”
“Oh, there wasn’t just one.”
“He met several after he had fought the previous night and went out celebrating.”
“He had fought the previous night.”
“Thanks.” Brianna takes her leave of the guy and finds Joey. “I don’t believe in curses. I wonder if its one of these ladies who’s causing this.” She runs down what she learned from the guy from Sibley’s to Joey. “Let’s follow the guys after this fight and see if they run into anything unusual.”
“You’re the boss,” Joey says.
Joey watches for the loser of the bout while Brianna sets up the watch for the winner. It’s not too longer before Eli Goldberg emerges as the winner by a TKO. Brianna follows him as he’s escorted to the dressing room and groupies begin to gather in front of the door. Brianna settles in to watch.
After a while, Goldberg emerges with a trainer and two women who push their way through the crowd to a waiting a luxury car. They then pull away from the warehouse. Brianna catches up with Joey who reports that the loser emerged with a trainer, a woman, and a young man to a waiting car and drove away. Nothing really unusual to report. Brianna wants to do the same thing with the main event fight. Joey shrugs and says “Okay”.
The main event is Jim McCoy from Kansas City and Duncan Olaf from Portland. It’s a close fight, but Olaf manages to knock McCoy out, bringing it home for the local crowd.
Brianna manages to wedge herself into the crowd of groupies. She overhears smack talk about another groupie named “Lyn”—how she’s “creepy” and a “bitch”. She’s apparently a blond in a fur coat and fishnets near the front of the crowd. Brianna tries to get closer to her.
Eventually, Duncan emerges from his dressing room, alone. The groupies go wild. Brianna watches the proceedings very carefully, especially for evidence of the supernatural—after all, she is more than just another pretty face. She notices Lyn touching Duncan’s arm and inciting high amounts of lust in him—similar to what Brianna can do with rage. Duncan looks at her, the lust apparent in his eyes and reaches out and holds her close. The crowd moans collectively and mutterings of “that bitch Lyn” ripple throughout.
As the crowd breaks up and Duncan and Lyn head out to the parking lot, Brianna heads over to Joey and tells him what she witnessed. “Is this Duncan guy in danger?” Joey asks.
“Something’s not adding up. . .” Brianna says. “Pete didn’t die from a White Court vampire kill.”
“If we think she’s doing this, if seems pretty shitty to let that guy take a fall,” Joey says.
The two discuss the situation for a bit and then decide to search the parking lot and see if Duncan’s already left.
Joey finds his car. The doors are locked and it is swaying slightly and the windows are slightly fogged.
Brianna knocks on the window. No response. She shoves the car. Finally, the door opens and Duncan, shirt off and pants unbuttoned emerges, a scowl on his face. “What the fuck is your problem?!”
“I have to talk to Lyn,” Brianna says, smiling, enjoying the rage pouring off of Duncan.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Is she in the car?”
Lyn emerges from the car, straightening her coat over her shoulders. “Who are you?” Her voice is cold as ice.
“Brianna Karkana. I wonder if we may have a word?”
Lyn looks daggers at Brianna. “You. Dare.”
“I guess I do as we’re having this conversation. Get your ass out of the car.”
Duncan has gone from enraged to bewildered. “What the fuck is going on?”
Brianna says, “Lyn and I are cousins. I’ve been looking for her.”
The fighter shakes his head. “I don’t have time for this shit. Ly, get the fuck out of my car.” Lyn gathers her shoes and gets out of the car. “Crazy bitches,” Duncan mutters as he pulls out of the parking lot.
“Lyn, let’s have a talk,” Brianna says. "How much do you know about the ‘curse’ that’s been hitting the syndicate lately? A lot of people are ending up dead. . . " She takes a step forward toward Lyn to intimidate her.
“Who do you think you are, Karkana, to question a Raith?”
“I think I noticed something hinky’s going and I’ve been here two days. How long before the mortals do? I don’t think Nerise will be pleased.”
“You need to mind your own business.”
Brianna takes another step forward. “Why, what are you trying to hide, Lyn?”
Lyn takes a step back. Brianna smiles. “That’s what I thought. Something you want to tell me?” She takes another step forward.
Lyn takes another step back and stumbles a bit. “They have it coming, for the way they treated Max.”
“So you’ve got a vendetta against the world for your half-brother?”
Lyn takes a swing a Brianna, but the experienced fighter sees it coming and easily dodges it. “You sure you want to do that?”
“They had it coming! What do you care?”
“I care that you’re so fucking obvious! I’m new in town and I figured it out in two days! Stupid! So how did you kill them the next day? What are you doing Lyn that they are hit the next day and fall down dead?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“A chemical concoction I came up with.”
“You’re drugging them?”
“When we’re finished, they’re awfully sleepy. . .”
Brianna whips out her phone and takes a picture of Lyn. Lyn asks her why she did that. “It’s for Nerise.”
“What, are you Nerise’s errand girl now?”
Brianna gets in Lyn’s face. “I don’t like people shitting where I swim. This is MY territory.”
Lyn gulps. "So what now, Karkana?
“I’m taking you to Nirvana. Better you go willingly with me than you have Nerise hunt you down, I’m thinking. Are you coming with me or are you going to make me chase you?”
“Yes, let’s see what Nerise has to say.”
“Joey, why don’t you go get the car.”
Joey shrugs and starts walking. “You’re the boss. . .”
Joey brings the car around and Brianna and Lyn sit in the back seat while Joey drives to Nirvana
The nightclub is not nearly as busy on a Sunday night as it was the previous night. The three manage to make their way inside with little trouble and wander up to the upstairs office and are met by the armed guards.
Brianna says, “I need to see Nerise please. Let her know that Brianna Karkana is here.” The guards knock and Clive opens the door. He takes in the scene and Brianna says to him in Etruscan “I have something that belongs to her. There’s been quite a few deaths involved in southeast Portland.” Clive points to her and to Lyn and motions for them to come forward. Joey heads toward the club.
Once again, Nerise is behind her desk. She looks up, thanks Clive, and motions for the two women to take chairs in front of the desk.
“So, Brianna, I was not expecting to see you so soon again.”
“I was not expecting to be back so soon as well.”
Lyn pipes up. "This Karkana bitch has the audacity to interrupt Raith business. . .
“Six deaths in eight weeks isn’t Raith business unless its different in Portland,” Brianna replies.
Nerise raises a hand silence both women. "I will hear from our guest from House Karkana.
Brianna proceeds to tell the story of what she found out and her confrontation with Lyn this evening.
Nerise turns to Lyn. “Is this true, Marilyn?”
Lyn tries to rise and leave, but Clive forcibly seats her. No one noticed Clive move to the rear of the chair. Nerise nods. “I’ll take that as a yes.” She turns to Brianna. “Marilyn will be staying here a while. We have much to discuss. Ms. Karkana, you may go. You have done me a favor. I will do you one in return. Thank you.”
As Clive is occupied in restraining Lyn, Brianna lets herself out of the office. She goes down to the club and gathers up Joey and heads out. She asks Joey if he’s still interested in fighting in Portland, now that they’ve solved the problem of the ‘curse’.
“Sure,” he says. “Could be interesting.”
Brianna calls Mel and says that they’re in.