The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Redemption (Part One)

Karkana Chronicles Twelve

March 30, 2013

After doing some training at a local fitness gym, Brianna and Joey spend some time at their apartment and then decide to go out and catch a minor league hockey game. The Snowhawks are playing at home tonight—maybe Brianna can sip some of the ambient violent rage.

During the game, Brianna notices that the players are quite strong and powerful—she wouldn’t be surprised if they were on something. She points this out to Joey, who’s just enjoying the game and the fights. As they leave, Joey points out a couple of nondescript delivery trucks and asks Brianna if they look familiar. They do—they’re from Gould’s warehouse.

As they approach, two guys come from around the front of the truck and ask if they can help.

“Just walking,” Brianna says.

“Keep walking,” one of the drivers says. Brianna recognizes him from the warehouse.

Brianna and Joey keep walking. “He’s definitely branching out,” Brianna says. “I wonder if he’s going this with any of the other sports teams in town?”

They turn a corner and then look back and find one of the drivers staring back at them. They quickly turn back and decide to head to the car. Brianna debates following the trucks.

“I’m not sure why you’re interested,” Joey says, “You told him to do it somewhere else. He’s doing it somewhere else.”

“That’s true. Let’s go home.”

Joey pulls out of the parking lot and starts to head home. Before too long, Brianna notices that they’re being followed by a nondescript sedan. She thinks they picked them up at the stadium. She recognizes the car, too—it’s Malcolm Rupert.

Joey manages to outmaneuver Rupert and pins the following car at a dead end. Brianna gets out of their car and Rupert gets out of his, his hands raised.

“Rupert, were you trying to get my attention?” Brianna says.

“As a matter of fact, I was.”

“I don’t like being chased all over Portland. What the hell do you want?”

“I want to set up a meeting with a superior.”

“A superior what?”

Rupert looks exasperated. “Of mine.”

“With him and I?” Brianna asks.

“Yes.”

“Is this someone else in the Venatori?”

Rupert blinks and then says, “Be careful how you throw that word around.”

Brianna shrugs, “Was that a yes or a no?”

“Will you meet?” Rupert asks.

“That depends on where the meeting is. I would like to set those terms.”

“No. The location has already been picked. You can follow me.”

“What is this meeting about?”

Rupert appears to grit his teeth. “Our stalemate.”

“Escalating up the food chain is it? Very well. We’ll follow you in our car.”

“Alright.”

Brianna and Joey return to their car while Rupert returns to his. “He’s mad,” Brianna says. “Someone’s been chewing him up one side and down the other. This will be interesting.”

They follow the operative to an abandoned storefront. Rupert gets out of his car and Brianna and Joey get out of theirs. Rupert puts up a hand. “The meeting is with Brianna, not Joey.”

Brianna shakes her head. “He watches my back.”

Rupert shakes his head.

“If I’m not out in a couple of hours, start making phone calls,” Brianna says.

“Alright,” Joey says, but doesn’t look pleased.

Rupert goes in side and Brianna follows. In the darkness, silhouetted in the dim streetlight, is a figure. Before him is a stool. The figure speaks, a man’s voice.

“That’s far enough. Thank you, Rupert.”

Brianna notes the stool but continues to stand. The figure continues to speak.

“Ms. Karkana. I am here to propose a truce to this ridiculous stalemate that you and Mr. Rupert have gotten yourselves into. Mr. Rupert has failed to achieve the desired results with his retaliations against you.”

“Mr. Rupert seems to have something against me. He’s not been particularly pleasant. I suspect he’s been working against me,” Brianna says.

“I see. You’re going to continue to be coy. Very well. I had hoped we could be frank with each other.”

“I will be perfectly frank with you. Mr. Rupert has insinuated himself into a personal business matter between myself and Gould. So whatever business he wants to conduct with Gould is on his own, but I grow tired with him interfering in mine.”

“And you still claim to know nothing of the device?” the voice says.

“Yes. I don’t know what it is he’s looking for, but I don’t have it. I watched Gould. There is no love lost between us. I make no secret of that. Rupert leaves his office with briefcases. I suppose that’s his own affair, but it strikes me as a bit odd.”

The figure sighs. “I have no doubt that the device is no longer in your possession. Semantics is actually a passion of mine, Ms. Karkana. Don’t attempt to play such games with me. However, that is why I’m here. These games are tiresome. Don’t you agree?”

“I’d say they are infuriating. I want to be left alone. But apparently that’s not going to happen.”

“We could continue to threaten and cajole you, but will that get the desired results? I think not. Round and round we’ll go, ad nauseum. Ms. Karkana, you’re making my bodyguards nervous. I suggest you take a seat.”

Brianna looks down to realize she’s moved forward. She sits on the stool.

“As I was saying,” the figure continues, “Perhaps we can come to a better understanding.”

“That’s interesting coming from someone who’s not even introduced themselves,” Brianna says.

“You may call me Smith,” the figure says.

“And what sort of understanding do you think we can come to, Smith?”

“We both know that you are responsible for the loss of an artifact,” Smith says. Brianna sighs as Smith continues. “Perhaps if you help us regain another, we can balance the books as it were.”

“I would like our dealings to be done. I’m also tired of this stalemate, as you call it,” Brianna says.

“Then are you amenable?”

“I’m amenable to hear more details.”

“I’m afraid without a commitment, many more details would not be available.”

“Then speak in generalities. I don’t know you and am fine with keeping it that way. I have a code and I can’t give you a blanket promise without knowing what you’re going to ask me to do.”

“One of our operatives has left our service, taking an artifact with them. We’d like you to retrieve that artifact.”

“So all I’m responsible for is returning the artifact, however I wish to do so?” Brianna asks.

“Yes.”

“I’m not an assassin.”

“We’re not monsters,” Smith says.

“Some people think I am.”

“Yes, they do.”

“I’m not. I just want to make sure we’re clear on that point,” Brianna says. “This sounds like something I might be able to do. If this will balance the scales between us then that will be a good thing.”

“One point,” Smith says, “This arrangement is between us, not Mr. Aragon.”

“I usually rely on Joey to watch my back. No many people do. Also, to be frank, since I don’t have access to my bank accounts, there’s little I can do on my own. So unless this mission has me penetrating the darkest jungles of Africa, I assume an ATM may be needed.”

“Very well. I’m sure he’s already been privy to enough secrets.”

“At what point do I get more details?” Brianna asks.

“Mr. Rupert?” Smith says and Rupert produces a folder for Brianna containing a dossier on a Ms. Charlotte Fleming. She apparently now goes under the name of “Deborah Spivey” and is staying in the San Marquis apartments in Tempe, Arizona. She works as an accounts manager for Derek Jacobs Financials there in Tempe. She left the “organization” three months ago and took a mirror with her that can apparently act as a counterspell. Photos of Fleming and the mirror in question are attached.

“Is there a danger to anyone who doesn’t cast spells in picking up this mirror?” Brianna asks.

“No,” Mr. Smith says.

“Is there anything else I need to know about Ms. Fleming?”

“She’s a martial artist. Her field of study was vampires. Vampires of the White Court, to be exact.”

“Is there a possibility that Ms. Fleming is aware that you know she has the mirror and may be looking for it?”

“Yes.”

“Obviously, I’d like the balance to be rectified as quickly as possible. Other than that, is there a timeline for this mission?”

“As quickly as possible. I felt you’d be motivated.”

“Do you feel she’s settled in Tempe permanently or is she a flight risk?”

“Our information has her settled.”

“Does she have any known associates in Tempe? She’s not married is she?” Brianna asks.

“No, she’s not married.”

“Once I get this mirror, how do I get in touch with you?”

“I think you can find Mr. Rupert. You found him once already,” Smith says wryly.

“I’ll let him know, then. I’d rather give it to you—Mr. Rupert tends to lose things.”

“I’m sure he can arrange a meeting.”

“Lovely. It sounds like we have a deal.” Brianna stands. “Hopefully I’ll see you soon then.”

Brianna leaves the storefront and meets Joey outside, whacking him with the dossier. “Looks like there might be an end to our troubles. We have some stuff to talk about.” As they drive home, Brianna explains the situation. At home, she lets Joey read the dossier.

“I’ve never been a burglar before,” Joey comments.

“Me neither,” Brianna says. “If we retrieve this mirror, all the shit between us and the shadow organization will be over and shit will go back to normal.”

March 31, 2013

Brianna texts Quincy, asking if he knows the White Court situation in Tempe, Arizona. She also asks if his trial is going okay. He texts back that House Malvora is big there, as far as he knows. And his trial is going fine.

Later that day they visit Roy Dale at the University of Portland to do some research for them. It takes a bit of persuading, but he eventually does it. He manages to find a phone number and address (including apartment number) for Deborah Spivey in Tempe, Arizona. He also finds floor plans for the apartments in the San Marquis development. They also have him find the hours and location of Derek Jacobs Financials in downtown Tempe.

After tipping Roy, they head over to Sydney’s place. She invites them in. Regi is out. Brianna gets right to business.

“I don’t know if such things are possible, or if they are something you can do, but I’m i the market for a magic item.”

“I see. What sort of item?”

“Well, at first I was hoping for an item that could detect the presence of magic or magical objects. In my head I was thinking of something like a metal detector or like the hot/cold game you played as children. It would glow or turn warm when it got around such things.”

Sydney ponders this for moment as Brianna continues.

“It wouldn’t have to be permanent but maybe work for a week or two or maybe a month.”

“The longevity is not the problem,” Sydney says. “It’s whether it can do it or not. Magic is very personal. It’s a belief not an energy you can just detect. Its not like electricity. It’s not the same for everyone.”

“Well, hell,” Brianna says.

“It’d be like detecting belief. Or the force of will.”

“That’s not going to work. Can magic be used to open locked things and can that magic be inserted in an object?”

Sydney says, “Well, magic could be used to force open a lock or to turn tumblers, but if you mean presto chango, without knowledge of how a lock works, is that what you mean?”

“Yes.”

“Well, there’s a bit of necromancy but I don’t do that.”

“I didn’t think it’d have to do with dead people,” Brianna says.

“It’s called the Hand of Glory and it’s nasty stuff.”

“When we broke into the school, you did something where we couldn’t see you.”

“Yes.”

“Is that something that could be bound into an object?”

“Maybe. Yeah.”

“Used once? Multiple times?”

“It depends on how powerful the object is. Most have to be recharged after they are used, but more powerful objects could be used multiple times without being recharged.”

“How long would this take to make?”

“It would take weeks to attune the object to the spell and the magical energies involved,” Sydney says.

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