The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: The Restless Dead

Part Two

Lorraine Price is an attractive, gothically attired young woman. She approaches Angelica and Lau Hu’s table with no small amount of caution.

“Ronnie said you wanted to talk to me about Tim?”

Angelica chit chats with Lorraine for a bit, to make her feel more comfortable, before coming to her point—that she’d like to know where to find Tim.

It turns out that she and Tim broke up about three months ago. According to Lorraine, Tim had started to be a very negative person and she turned away from him. She met Ronnie and left Tim for the young bartender. The last she had heard was that Tim had dropped out of classes at Portland State and was living in an apartment in Sellwood.

After speaking with Lorraine, Angelica and Lau Hu head out to the Sellwood district to see if they can gather more information about Tim. Asking around, they find a group of goth kids at the Oaks Amusement Park. As luck would have it, they do know Tim, but he hasn’t been around much in the past few months. He’s gone “dark”, according to them. They know that he lives here in Sellwood, but not much else. Giving up, Angelica and Lau Hu head back to their respective homes.

Angelica stays up and does some internet research on any incidents that could be related to the case. She finds Tim’s Facebook page—which hasn’t seen any activity in the past few months. The last entries were very morbid quotes about love and death. There are pictures of he and Lorraine during happier times, but no clues as to his current whereabouts. She also investigates nearby cemeteries where Tim could have raised his zombie from. The nearest she finds is Lone Fir, a historical cemetery that currently only does memorials and takes cremated remains.

The next day, Angelica and Lau Hu meet again. Lau Hu has apparently been fighting with his father again, but doesn’t want to talk about it. They go out to Lone Fir and take a look around, finding nothing of interest there. They then return to Sellwood to do more digging.

The two split up to cover more ground. After about an hour of looking, Angelica gets a call from Lau Hu—he’s spotted Tim and is going to follow him. Then he curses—Tim has apparently spotted him and is on the run. Lau Hu gives chase. Angelica catches up with Lau Hu and the two follow the route where Tim has run to a basement apartment. As the two discuss what to do next, they hear drumming coming from inside the apartment. Lau Hu suggests that they leave and Angelica agrees.

Angelica and Lau Hu head back to Angelica’s house. She decides that she is going to attempt to free the animating spirit in Tim’s zombie. She spends the next few hours doing research of obituaries and various news sources to try and put together the probable identity of the corpse. She then researches in her own library of spiritual guides and tomes for information on how to complete her ritual. She even consults her mentor, Eleanor Munoz, about techniques that she should use. Eleanor lets her know that the Warden for the Greater Portland area is Leilani Capstone. Then, using the corpse’s name (Alex Jeremy Courson) and photograph as a symbolic link to the zombie, she goes into her sanctum and begins her ritual.

Through her symbolic link and the trappings of her spell, she chants the name of Alex Jeremy Courson, reaching out through space with her power to find the spirit attached to his body. She focuses her power through her bracelets. Finally, she finds it and weaves her ectomantic powers around the animating spirit within the body and cast it back into the Nevernever. By the time she finishes, it is well into daylight of the following day.

After getting a few hours rest, Angelica calls Warden Capstone and tells her what she has discovered. Apparently the Warden is in Eugene, up to her neck (so to speak) in Red Court vampires. She can meet with Angelica in two days. If Angelica continues to keep an eye on the nascent necromancer, Capstone warns her to be cautious. He may be young, but he could be very dangerous. There’s a reason why the White Council takes charges of necromancy very seriously.

Angelica and Lau Hu decide to continue to surveil Tim. They find a fairly good stakeout point near his apartment and settle in to watch. Eventually, as the sun begins to set, the young goth comes out and starts walking in their direction. Angelica throws up a veil as he walks past the two watchers and gets into a beat-up Nissan pick up. Lau Hu, driving Angelica’s car, follows.

As Lau Hu follows the beat up Nissan, it suddenly jukes onto a narrow side-street and peels away, leaving its pursuers in the dust. Cursing in Chinese, Lau Hu pulls over so they can regroup. The car was heading roughly west, so perhaps he was going to Mount Calvary Cemetery. Maybe they can catch up with Tim there.

Sure enough, as they drive around the perimeter of the cemetery, they spot the beat-up Nissan. Night has fallen at this point. Both Angelica and Lau Hu clumsily scale the wall and end up near some shrubbery inside the cemetery grounds. Lau Hu ducks into the shadows for a moment and re-emerges in his tiger form. Angelica waits while the big cat pads into the cemetery proper to take a look around. Finally, after about 45 minutes of tense waiting, Lau Hu emerges from the shadows. The two quickly scale the wall again and head out to Angelica’s car.

According to Lau Hu, Tim met a cloaked, hooded figure in the cemetery. The hooded figure seemed very upset with Tim, demanding that he quit fooling about and get “his book”. Tim related the trouble he had with a “woman” at the movie theatre and that his link with his zombie was inexplicably broken. The hooded figure again demanded that he get the book or he would take back the gifts that had been given to him.

Angelica takes Lau Hu back to Chinatown and then heads home to think about these new developments. Could Tim be using sponsored magic in his work? And, if so, who is the sponsor? Or was it an idle threat by an angry mentor? Who is this cloaked and hooded figure?

The next day, Angelica picks up Lau Hu, who has apparently had another row with his father due to his late nights, and heads out to Sellwood to spy on Tim again. They find his truck parked outside of his apartment once again. They find another good stakeout point and wait.

Around sundown, Tim emerges with a large bag and loads it up into his truck. They attempt once again to follow him, but the young necromancer gets away. The two decide to take a chance that he was heading for the cemetery once again. Sure enough, they find his truck parked outside. They decide to wait and watch for Tim’s return.

A few hours later, Tim emerges from the cemetery gates, drumming for all he’s worth, with another zombie walking behind him. The zombie and Tim get into the truck. The sound of heavy bass emerges from within the vehicle as the truck pulls away. Lau Hu gives pursuit, but Tim, once again, gets away.

Cursing vehemently, Lau Hu and Angelica decide to head to Laurelhurst Theatre—perhaps Tim wishes to complete his revenge on Ronnie after all. When the two pull up to the theatre’s parking, they can see Ronnie and Lorraine emerging from the theatre and walking down the sidewalk. Then Lau Hu hears the sound of drumming and can see the zombie and Tim walking up the street to meet Ronnie and Lorraine. Both Lau Hu and Angelica bolt from the parking lot, yelling at Ronnie to take cover.

Lau Hu attacks the zombie with a roundhouse kick as Angelica starts to draw a wide magic circle around the creature and Lau Hu. As he bangs the drum against his leg, Tim shouts something in Latin and Angelica feels a hammer blow of force knock her about. Again, Tim shouts and Lau Hu’s broken nose starts bleeding again. Finally, Angelica completes her circuit, cutting off the zombie from the source of its power. It drops to the ground at Lau Hu’s feet. The martial artist nimbly steps out of the circle and approaches the desperately drumming necromancer. He grabs Tim by the arm, enranged, and breaks it. Tim screams, as does Lorraine. Lau Hu starts leading the injured necromancer to Angelica’s car.

“What’s going on? What happened with that guy?” Ronnie asks, pointing at the corpse now laying on the sidewalk.

“Heart attack?” Angelica says. “I don’t know. We have to go. But Tim isn’t going to be bothering you anymore.”

“Why? Where are you taking him?” Lorraine asks.

“Shouldn’t we call the police?” Ronnie asks.

“I don’t know. Maybe. But we have to go.” Angelica heads to the car with Lau Hu and the whimpering Tim.

Angelica calls Warden Capstone, who agrees to meet them at at rest stop about halfway between Portland and Eugene. There, they meet the Warden, who is decked out in her grey cloak and wearing a sword at her side. She takes custody of the young necromancer, declaring, “You stand accused of breaking the Fifth Law of Magic. Rest assured, justice will be done.” As she loads the injured Tim into her car, he shrieks “The Shrouded One will take you all!” Then the Warden and her prisoner drive into the night.

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