The Dresden Files: Portland
Thomas Cromwell is a best-selling author of crime fiction set in the Portland, OR area. He lives in Beaverton at 15890 SW Nighthawk Dr. He made a deal with Hubbard to get inside information in return for a year of his life—and tried to renege on the deal. So Hubbard sent Brianna to collect…
Brianna was sent to collect blood and deliver pain to Thomas Cromwell for his reneging on his and Hubbard’s deal. She was essentially to beat him to a pulp and take a sample of blood from which Hubbard could use to extract his due.
When Brianna went to collect, she snuck into Cromwell’s garage and attacked him when he got out of his car, breaking his nose. She took a sample from the ensuing hemorrhage and could have been done—but then his attitude convinced her to listen to his story.
He was recently divorced and lost custody of his two children, which he loves very much. And, to his way of thinking, Hubbard’s deal was costing him that much more time he was losing with his children. So he reneged. This touched Brianna so she started calling her friends to work out a way she could keep her word to Hubbard and keep this man from losing his soul to Hubbard’s machinations—because once Hubbard had his blood, there was no telling what he could do to Cromwell.
This moved Cromwell to tell Brianna to forget about it—to take him to Hubbard and let him pay his debt. Brianna felt this could work, because she was technically bringing back Cromwell’s blood (the man himself) and she delivered pain (the broken nose).
She called Sam Jones, Hubbard’s toady, to set up the drop at Hubbard’s home instead of the arranged point of the B-Side Tavern. This prompted a call back from Hubbard, in which the exasperated fey told Brianna to just make the drop like they arranged. Brianna was keeping the nature of the “blood” to herself. When she made the drop at the B-Side, Sam was pissed, he called Hubbard, who was equally pissed, and arranged for the drop to take place in person at a warehouse.
At the warehouse, Brianna presented Cromwell as her “blood” contribution and Hubbard expressed his displeasure—he wanted the man to suffer for reneging on their deal and clearly Brianna had not extracted the amount of pain he had in mind. After an argument regarding ‘mortal dignity’ and whether or not Cromwell had it for showing up himself, Hubbard stepped forward to perform whatever act he had in mind for revenge, when Cromwell shoved a handful of iron nails into Hubbard’s face. This angered Hubbard, who used a spell to throw the man across the room. Hubbard then went forward and beat the man senseless as a demonstration to Brianna of what she should have done. Then he performed some sort of spell on Cromwell, touching his head and causing a rime of frost to grow there for a short span of time.
Eventually, Brianna and Cromwell were allowed to leave. And Cromwell had discovered that the year of his life that Hubbard had taken was the first year of his children’s lives—all memories of that year were lost.
After what passes as a pep talk from Brianna, she took Cromwell to a hospital and dropped him off, but gave him her number in case he needed anything.