The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: The Big Bad (Part Two)

Karkana Chronicles Eleven

March 26, 2013 (Tuesday, 9:30 pm: Forest Park)

Brianna, Regi, and Joey all head out to Forest Park. Brianna uses the GPS on her phone to get near Newton Creek and scout out the area. They decide to follow the creek. Regi provides light and guides the way, flying between Joey and Brianna.

At one point in their scouting, all three notice a set of canine eyes glowing in the darkness—from their position, it’s clear the creature is BIG. It pounces on Regi as Brianna punches at it and misses. Joey punches at the creature and misses as well. Even Regi attempts to punch it and misses. Brianna punches low and cracks—something—in the strange creature’s abdomen. Gooey ectoplasm spills out of it. It howls in pain. Now that it is out in the open, it is clear that it is not natural. It has semi-transparent skin and appears to be some hideous cross between a dog and a hyena.

It pins Regi to the ground. Joey pounds it with an elbow. Regi can’t seem to break free. Brianna yells “Let him go!” and hits him, but it seems to shrug it off. It grinds Regi down and the pixie’s light dims. Joey punches at it again and does no good, nor does Brianna. Regi just can’t seem to wiggle free. Brianna and Joey both try to force it to let go to no avail. Finally, the thing seems to lose its hold on the pixie. Regi shoots straight into the air. Brianna tries to hit the thing again but it bounds away into the darkness.

“Regi, are you all right?” Brianna asks the beleaguered pixie.

“I think I cracked a wing!” the pixie squeaks.

“That thing was nasty! Do you know what that thing was?” she asks.

“The Big Bad,” Regi says, in awe.

“I don’t know if you’re in any shape to continue investigating tonight,” Brianna says.

“I can still fly,” Regi says, defiant.

“You need to stay high, then. Sydney will have my head if something happens to you. When I hit it, ectoplasm come out, not blood. What does that mean?” Brianna asks.

Joey shrugs.

Regi shrugs.

Brianna realizes it is a constructed body. She’s still unsure of the implications of that.

With Regi flying high, his light is too diffuse to light their way. She uses her phone as a flashlight. “Regi, are you sure you don’t want me to get you back somewhere safe?”

“No.”

“Stay high.”

The creature followed the creek as it loped off, so Brianna continues to follow the creek. She makes note of her current location (the attack location) as where its territory might start.

After about fifteen minutes of walking up the creek, all of them hear movement going away from the creek. Brianna darts toward the sound. She finds the creature padding down an animal trail. It turns and growls at her. Brianna hisses and attacks, hitting it. The creature bites Brianna, tearing her arm. Brianna hits it hard, bruising it. It bites at her again and misses her. At this point, Joey arrives but misses the creature with his elbow. Brianna attacks the creatures but misses. The creature attacks Brianna but misses. But then Joey drops it with a well-placed punch. Ectoplasm goes everywhere and an object drops into the dirt.

At first, Brianna thinks its a doll. Regi goes to pick it up and realizes its not a doll—but the desiccated corpse of a pixie. Regi goes still. “Ariella,” he whispers as he picks it up and hold it close.

“What?” Brianna says, incredulous.

“That’s Ariella,” Regi says.

“Is that one of the ones that disappeared?” Brianna asks.

“Yes,” Regi says, his voice hoarse.

“That’s the most sick and twisted thing I’ve ever heard of!”

Regi says, “I’ll bring her to Moire.”

“There’s something sick and twisted going on here,” Brianna repeats.

They head back to the car.

“That was a fucking awesome punch, Joey,” Brianna tells her partner.

“It’s what I do,” he says.

Brianna spends the car ride back to Mill Ends Park disgusted and angry.

When they get to the tiny park, Moire flies up. Regi shows her Ariella corpse. “We found the Big Bad and they defeated it, but we found Ariella inside it.”

Brianna elaborates. “It was some sort of construct. Some sort of horrible mix between dog and hyena.”

“A construct,” Moire says. “What is this?”

“Not a real body. It was filled with ectoplasm. I’m not a magic user per se. I don’t know too much more about it than that. I’ll have to do more research, but I think something horrible is going on in those woods.”

“But you defeated the Big Bad.”

“Yes, but I think something made it. And if it made one, it can make more.”

Moire turns to Regi. “Your fighter friend is not a magic user. Your magic friend is not a fighter. Maybe they can help each other.”

“I think that is a great idea,” Brianna says. “Let’s go Regi.”

Regi nods.

A couple of pixies take Ariella into the park. Regi tells Moire, “I will avenge Ariella. We will find the Big Bad Maker.”

Brianna, Joey, and Regi head for the car and go to Sydney’s. Once there, they send Regi ahead to give Sydney a heads up that they are there so that she can let them in. Sydney meets them at the door and invites them in.

Once inside, Brianna asks if Regi explained the situation to her. Sydney says that he explained to some extent. Brianna explains the situation in her own words. Once finished, she asks. “Someone had to make that thing, right?” referring to the construct.

“Yes,” Sydney says.

“That’s what I thought. It was the most horrid thing I’ve ever seen.”

“Whoever did this likely used Ariella as a symbolic link to control the construct,” Sydney says.

“I need you to repeat that for those of us who don’t understand how magic works.”

“The corpse was his remote control.”

“So he was seeing out of its eyes? The construct?”

“Possibly.”

“Why pixies?”

“I don’t know. I don’t thing he’s collecting them for sympathetic links. He could use anything for that.”

“So he’s using pixie corpses for fun?” Brianna exclaims, horrified.

“That’s not what I’m saying. I don’t think he has a stash of pixie corpses. That doesn’t make sense.”

“Clearly the construct went after Regi.”

“Exactly. Because of the sympathetic link.”

Brianna asks Regi, “Was Ariella the first pixie to go missing?”

“Yes,” Regi says.

“So something happens to Ariella. She becomes the first corpse. he uses her to power the construct to target other pixies?”

“Right,” Sydney says.

“I suppose that’s less terrifying than collecting corpses but it still doesn’t make sense.”

“So he’s targeting pixies for some reason. With a construct. Perhaps he’s gathering power,” Sydney says.

“By their deaths?” Brianna asks.

“Right,” Sydney says.

“Besides being a dickhead, what is this? Necromancy? This is bad, yes?”

“Yes. It’s blood magic and its bad. But this is just speculation. But it fits. At least as much as anything. I hate to ask it, but with Ariella, I might be able to divine something.”

Regi crosses his arms and says, “No. Wizards have done enough to Ariella.”

“We know what direction it was going. There was ectoplasm that dissipated,” Brianna says.

“Whoever did this is going to be very angry that their construct is gone,” Sydney says.

“Good,” Brianna says. That will make them stupid. We can go back and try to find the lair of this person."

“Who ever was controlling it had to be able to concentrate on it,” Sydney says.

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