The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: The Big Bad (Part Four)

Karkana Chronicles Eleven

March 28, 2013 (Thursday)

Brianna and Joey decide to head to Powells and stake it out in hopes that Paul will show up after school—a habit he has, according to his Facebook check-ins.

During the stake out, Brianna spots Paul—and Paul notices Brianna staring at him. The young man leaves the store in a hurry. Brianna turns her back and calls Joey. “He’s spotted me. I don’t know if he’s spotted you. Do you think you could follow him?”

“I’ll try,” Joey says.

Brianna waits and gets a call from Joey. “The kids getting into a cab.”

“Get the cab information. See if you can get a taxi to follow that one, if that’s not cliche enough…”

“Okay.”

After a long while, Joey finally calls back. “I’m on my way back. He went to Irvington. I got an address.”

“Nice!” Now we have something to go on. Have the cab drop you off in Alberta and I’ll pick you up."

Brianna goes to pick up Joey and then the two head over to Sydney’s.

Sydney invites them in. Regi greets them. “Hiya lady!”

“How are you today, Regi?” Brianna says.

“My wing’s better.”

“That’s good to hear.”

Brianna explains the information they’ve gathered, including the boy’s online presence and now his address. Brianna has a sudden realization.

“Oh Lord! The kid was able to see out of the construct’s eyes to control it?”

“Possibly,” Sydney says.

“Ah, fuck me. That could be why when he spotted me, he left. Goddammit. I though he seemed pretty weasely to leave so quickly. Well, now what? Is there any possibility there’s a magic book telling him how to do this? How do we steal his power? He can’t be allowed to continue to do this.”

Sydney says, quietly, “Usually, this is where Wardens get involved.”

“I have her number,” Brianna says, noting the mix of emotions that roil over Sydney’s face at that exclamation. “I’ve never worked with the Warden in Portland. I’ve just tipped her off about something. So we’ve not even met. Regardless of what everyone thinks about Wardens, this is a bit of a weird situation. I’m not saying we should get her involved, but the four of us are talking about making moves against a sophomore in high school.”

“Well, I brought it up,” Sydney says.

“Is there something that can be done to neutralize this kid? What he’s doing?” Brianna asks.

Sydney says, “From a magic point of view, not really.”

“Do you think this construct thing is something he could have thought up on his own?” Brianna asks.

“If he’s gifted enough, sure,” Sydney says.

“He’s been hanging around Powell’s a lot, apparently. I don’t know if they would have something about how to do what he did. Well I guess we need more information. All we have is circumstantial evidence. He imagines himself involved with the mystical arts but your spell never saw him do anything with the spell.”

“No, the granola wrapper wasn’t involved,” Sydney says wryly.

“Would he have anything more at the house that would be more involved with the spell? More incriminating?”

“He may have a focus item,” Sydney says.

“Could that be used in the spell to see if he used it?”

“It could be used in the divination, yes.”

“We need more definite evidence before we decide what we want to do. I’m pretty good at scaring the shit out of someone. I’m not sure that’s enough to make it stick.”

“The trick,” Sydney says, “is that a focus could be anything.”

“Is it something you carry on you?” Brianna asks.

“Yeah, it would be portable.”

“But it could be anything. Great.”

“He may have other occult paraphanelia. A lot of teenagers do,” Sydney says.

“I’m not going to know what’s real and what’s not,” Brianna says.

“As far as divination, something, anything, personal of his would be useful,” Sydney points out.

“Alright.”

“We can’t really see his past, but we could watch him,” Sydney says.

“Something like hair or like a shoe?”

“Hair would be great. It’s a part of him. The more personal the item the better.”

“I wonder how easy it’s going to be getting into his house? Is there a way to tell if there’s a ward or something before I run into it?” Brianna asks.

“You might be able to sense some energies, but probably not. That’s the point. Now actually making a construct and a ward are two different types of magic so he may not be versed in wards,” Sydney says.

“We can only be so lucky. Best time to explore his house is when he’s at school. We don’t knowhow else is in that house. You can bet they have security system if they’re in that neighborhood. I guess we’ll have to figure out the best way to do this,” Brianna says.

Joey says, “They probably have hired help.”

“I would agree. We can’t get close to him at school. He’s going to bolt. Physically holding him down will be fairly obvious. He’s taking taxis instead of public transportation—it’s not like we can sneak up to him on the bus, either.”

Regi says, “I can get in that house.”

“Are you going to be able to detect a ward? Or any magical traps he’s got laid?” Brianna asks.

Regi sniffs. “As good as you can.”

“If there’s a lot of people going in and out of that house, he’s probably not got a lot of traps. And the best place for him is in his bedroom, and as he uses it himself, it’s probably not warded. It makes me nervous, but it’s probably the best option,” Brianna says, resigned.

Joey looks up on his phone when school starts—it’s 8 am tomorrow morning.

Sydney is going to put a “non-descript” Aspect on the car with her Thaumaturgy so that people don’t notice that its out of place in the neighborhood while they all wait on Regi to finish his work in the house.

Regi is going to break in and get something person from Paul’s room.

They will meet at Sydney’s early the next morning and position themselves at Paul’s address by 7 am the next morning. Joey and Brianna bid Sydney and Regi goodbye and head out.

Before heading home, Brianna looks for a new club at which to feed. She finds one and starts a fight with one of the women there and gets thrown out by the bouncers. She manages to get fed in the process. But the whole thing depresses her as she realizes that she’s trolling clubs, just like her mother did. She misses her territory.

She and Joey head out for the fitness gym and do a vigorous workout before finally heading home.

At 2 am, Brianna gets a text from Clive: NERISE SENDS HER REGARDS. ALL IS WELL.

Brianna sends a return text: GOOD TO HEAR. PLEASE EXPRESS MY PLEASURE THAT THE MATTER HAS BEEN RESOLVED.

March 29, 2013 (Friday)

At 7am, Regi, Sydney, Brianna, and Joey are waiting in the car outside Paul Whitlock’s house. Regi flies out of the car and suddenly, no one can see anything but a shimmer in the air where he was. Sydney gets out of the car and draws a chalk circle around, murmuring to herself and then closes the circle, with her inside it. Brianna can feel an energy ripple around her and the car when the circle closes. The three inside sit, watch, and wait,

A car pulls out of the garage; a young man is sitting in the passenger seat, an older man driving the car. A few minutes, another car pulls out and heads the opposite direction. It’s difficult to see the driver of this car as a result.

Brianna notices a shimmering of the light outside her car window. She thinks it might be Regi. Suddenly there’s a knocking at the window and they let the pixie into the car. He’s holding a tuft of hair triumphantly.

“Great job, Regi!” Brianna says. “Get your ass in the car! Is this going to be enough, Sydney?”

“Yes,” Sydney says, smiling.

“Perfect. Let’s get back to your apartment.”

“I snooped around a bit,” the pixie says, “Found some weird notes I couldn’t read. Found a wand. Tucked under his mattress.”

“Were there other people in the house that you could tell?” Brianna asks.

“There was a cleaning lady and a guy in the kitchen.”

The four head back to Sydney’s house and talk about when how to watch Paul. They decide to conduct the ritual at midnight tonight at Sydney’s and see what the boy is up to.

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