The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Trials and Tribulations (Part One)

Karkana Chronicles Ten

March 15, 2013 (Early Morning)

Brianna and Joey talk about how crazy this last encounter was and how they hope the cult will actually move on. They go home and go to bed.

Later that morning, Brianna calls Detective Loomis.

“This is Brianna. I hear things are active up there. Word’s got all the way to Portland.”

“Things are hopping.”

“I know Ezekiel’s got a lot of people looking for him right about now, but I was hoping you could pass on a message for him to call me.”

“I can do that.”

“I’d appreciate it.” Anything I need to know about that you can say over the phone? For when I come up for my cousin’s trial?"

“Just watch yourself.”

“I usually do. You as well. Good day.”

Brianna hangs up and sends Quincy a text: EVERYTHING GOING OKAY? THERE’S A LOT OF ACTIVITY. HOPE TO COME UP FRIDAY OR SATURDAY BEFORE TRIAL.

Quincy texts back: EVERYTHING FINE IF BORING HERE. LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU’RE IN TOWN.

Later that day, Ezekiel George calls Brianna back. As usual when he calls, there’s a great deal of interference on the line and it’s a bit tricky to hear him.

“Thank you for calling me back,” Brianna says. “I expect you’re busy right now, but I just had an interaction with a group southeast of Seattle where someone had summoned a spirit, a phobophage. He had a cult of some sort. The spirit’s been sent back, the cult is broken up, but it may merit investigation to make sure there’s nobody lingering.” She gives Ezekiel directions to the compound.

“Thanks,” he says. “It has been busy of late, but I have some allies.”

“Lovely,” Brianna says. “They’re calling themselves ‘The Fellowship of the Sacred Lamb.’ A lot of kids. Just wanted to pass that on. Anyway, we’ll probably be back in Seattle in about a week or so for my cousin’s trial.”

“I’ll be sure and check this out,” Ezekiel says.

March 18, 2013 (Monday)

Brianna calls Agent Roccelli of the Treasury Department.

“This is Brianna Karkana calling to see if there has been any updates on my accounts being unfrozen.”

“There have been no changes thus far, unfortunately. No one has come forward with any new information.

“Alright, I trust you’ll contact me when they do.”

“I will. And I trust you’ll contact me if you have any information of interest.”

“I guess. If I can think of anything, I will let you know. Alright, well have a nice day.”

“You as well.”

Brianna hangs up. “Joey,” she says, “I don’t know at what point I need to get a lawyer.”

She and Joey then go and check in on Pastor Cartland at the Pentecostal Mission House. They see Aiden there as well. As far as how things are going, the pastor says they are taking things “one day at a time.”

March 22, 2013 (Friday—late night)

Brianna and Joey head out to the Seattle and stay in an economy hotel.

March 23, 2013 (Saturday)

At 8 am, Brianna gets up and calls Quincy.

“We’re in town,” she says.

“Great. Where are you at?”

She tells him the hotel name and location.

“Did you want to meet?” he asks.

“Yes, I would like to. We’ve got some stuff to catch up on and we need to find out what to expect on Monday.”

“Why don’t I come by then?”

“Very good. See you later.”

Quincy shows up later that morning. Brianna gives him a hug. “Good to see you,” she says.

They go out to find Joey some food.

The Red Court’s been very active. I’ve heard rumors all the way in Portland. You’ve not had any problems? Brianna asks.

“I know enough to steer clear,” Quincy says.

Well, I guess you got some residue from some of that. Some that was residue from when I was here with Madeline.

“Madeline Raith’s infamous messes.”

“I think she and I took care of what needed to be taken care of. I agree there were ripple effects. I just didn’t expect you to get caught up in them.

Brianna and Quincy discuss the upcoming trial. Quincy is pretty confident that his lawyer can create enough reasonable doubt in the jury’s mind with the “blond woman” being caught on tape and Loomis’ testimony.

“Is this a ‘family’ lawyer or someone you hired?” Brianna asks.

“I hired him.”

“I may end up needing to hire a lawyer,” Brianna says, " Someone has given my name to the US Treasury Department for ‘fraudulent activities’ involving my accounts. The investigation is not really going anywhere right now, so I’ve been told. If my accounts are frozen for much longer, then I’m going to need to hire some legal representation."

“That’s rough,” Quincy says.

“Yeah, well. It means business is slow. Until this gets resolved, I’ve got a lot of free time.”

“My guy is good, if you want to go that route.”

“Well, I appreciate that. It may come to it.”

The two White Court vampires watch Joey eat and chit chat a while.

“I thought I would have a drink with Loomis. He spoke at your arraignment—I get the impression that was rare,” Brianna says.

“Yeah, that got me my low bail,” Quincy says.

“Other than that, I’ll stay out of trouble. Everyone expects I want to be in it. it just seems to find me. If he’s amenable, I don’t know if you’re interested in going with us or not?”

“Sure.”

They let Joey finish his meal and then head out to the car and call Loomis.

“This is Loomis.”

“It’s Brianna. I’m in town.”

“Oh.”

“My cousin and I were talking and thought it might be nice to buy you a drink. It was good of you to speak on his behalf during his arraignment.”

“I only told the truth. I’ll take a raincheck until after the trial. I don’t want to jeopardize any sense of neutrality in my testimony.”

“Understandable. Until after the trial, then.”

“Thanks for the offer, though.”

“You’re welcome.”

Brianna reports the conversation to the others.

“Are you leaving Seattle after this?” she asks Quincy. “Did you get everything squared away with the relative you were here to meet with?”

“As much as I can. I can’t wait to leave Settle.”

“I imagine so. Do you get to stay home for awhile or will you be sent some place else?”

Quincy shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“I hope for your sake you get to not deal with crap and get to spend some time in your home.”

“Me too.”

They all hang out for a while and then go out to feed. Joey stays on the periphery as they do so. They then decide to go to Quincy’s economy hotel to hang out. He has a ground floor room. They watch bad television and talk for awhile, then suddenly a figure breaks in through the sliding glass back door and another figure breaks through the front door, knocking off the front locks. Both figures brandish fangs and long claws. The one in the back is a man and the one in the front is a woman.

The man attacks Brianna, who meets him across the floor, speed for speed. He misses her. The woman meets Quincy and slashes him viciously across the belly with her claws. Brianna crushes the man’s nose with her fist, as Quincy does the same for his attacker. Joey then reacts and punches the man a pretty decent hook across the face.

Suddenly, Ezekiel George arrives in the fallen doorway and casts a jet of steam into the attacking man’s face, burning away part of the Red Court vampire’s flesh mask and blistering his skin. The vampire turns and goes to bolt out of the broken sliding glass door. Brianna leaps on him and tackles him. The woman spins and slashes Ezekiel across his chest. Quincy goes to attack her and misses. Joey kicks the tackled vampire in the head and knocks him unconscious. Ezekiel waves his hand and a fist of invisible force strikes the vampiress across the face. The woman takes in the scene and raises her hands in surrender.

Ezekiel draws his sword and lowers its point toward her throat. “Do you swear by your power to surrender?”

“I yield,” she snarls.

“Swear it!” he demands.

“I swear by my power to surrender.”

“Do you mind telling me what the fuck you’re doing in my room?” Brianna demands angrily.

“They were sent by the Margrave to kill you,” Ezekiel says.

Brianna gets in the woman’s face. “The next time you get an order like that, you better think twice.” The woman lowers her eyes. Brianna turns to Ezekiel. “So she just walks out of here?”

“She reports her failure to the Margrave,” Ezekiel says.

“I hope it goes poorly for you,” Brianna hisses at the woman.

Brianna can feel all the excitement of the battle getting to her and her hunger growing. She can tell the same is true for Quincy as well. The two stay away from each other, but pace at opposite ends of the room. She points to the unconscious vampire and says, “What about this asshole?”

Ezekiel turns to the woman, “Take him with you.” The vampire cautiously makes her way out, carrying the unconscious figure with her.

“Your arrival was quite fortunate, thank you,” Brianna says to Ezekiel.

“I heard the Margrave had sent those two and tracked them here.”

“The Margrave sent them to kill us or sent them to kill me?”

“You.”

Brianna sighs. “I want to like Seattle. I really do. But this is getting ridiculous.” She looks at Quincy. “Ripple effects again. Sorry.”

“I’m not getting my deposit back,” Quincy says.

“No, probably not. Well, this is going to make waiting for the trial a lot more interesting. How close are you to taking care of this problem? Is it getting better or is it just getting worse?” Brianna asks Ezekiel.

“Do you mean how close am I to single-handedly winning the Vampire War?” the Warden answers, his eyebrow raised.

“Can the Margrave be touched?” Brianna asks.

“I win battles. I lose battles. It’s a war,” Ezekiel says.

“Thank you for helping,” Brianna says.

“Anytime.”

Brianna goes to splash some water on her face and take some deep breaths. When she returns, the Warden has left. She sits on the couch. “I need to go find people that are very angry and be around them for a while. I feel like crap. It’s nice to know the Margrave of Seattle has taken out a hit on me as well as the Warden. I suppose it means I’m moving up in the world.”

She turns to her cousin, “I don’t know if we’re safer together or not, Quincy.”

“I don’t know, either.”

“I need to go feed.”

“I need to go tell the manager about this.”

“Do you need us to stay?”

“Nah.”

“Keep in touch.”

Joey and Brianna look for a dive bar to find a fight. They find one with potential, but it just doesn’t seem to produce, so Brianna has to start a fight herself. She provokes a guy into throwing a punch. She dodges and grabs his arm and feeds on his rage. He swings again and misses. They get out there before too much more happens.

They get to their room and barricade the front door with furniture and go to bed.

March 24, 2013 (Sunday)

They both keep a low profile. Brianna texts Quincy: HOPEFULLY YOU WERE ABLE TO GET WHAT YOU NEEDED AND EVERYTHING IS ALL RIGHT.

They stay inside and keep in contact with Quincy until the trial on Monday.

March 25, 2013 (Monday—8 am)

Brianna and Joey put on their nice outfits and head out to the courthouse. Detective Loomis is there, as is Quincy and his lawyer.

The lawyer is good; in the opening arguments he brings up the woman and the video evidence, Detective Loomis’ testimony, and Quincy’s lack of a criminal record. The DA brings up the heinousness of the crime, that the killer will walk away “unscathed” with a not guilty verdict, and that Chandra Hinckley, the victim, will be yet another statistic, and that a guilty verdict will be justice for her. Brianna gets the impression that this trial could be a long one.

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