Dresden Files: Against the Darkness

Season 1: Episode 2 - Father (Session 1)
Father

Game Time: March 27th, 2012
Real World: May 26, 2013

Isaac fell upon his bed another long day behind him. Two weeks since everything changed. After meeting Nikko Chicago had fallen apart. Dresden dead by an assassin’s bullet. The White Council wiping out the Red Court. With power structures turned upside down Isaac had been busy keeping the various signs of new power struggles under wraps from the mortal world. And in his free time hanging out with Alex in bars and cemeteries looking for a clue to where this Longshadow fellow was.

Feeling sleep beginning to take him he rolled over into a more comfortable position. That is until he heard the sound of the tv’s. Lots of them. Talking over each other. As if someone was in his office playing with his bank of tv’s.

Isaac rolled out of bed as he tried to shake the sleep out of his eyes. Quietly he snuck up to his office door. On the desk was a bottle of his grandfathers special whiskey. The TV’s where on and someone was in his high backed chair faced away from the door.

Isaac cleared his throat and the figure spun around.

Alex my boy! Good to see you.

Uh, hi Dad. Good to see you too?

I didn’t take you for an early riser. Changing habits as you age, eh?

Yeah. Early riser. Right. Dad, what are you doing here?

Can’t a father just stop by to say hello.

From New York?

You got me there. I was passing through on an assignment. Wanted to ask about the Green Woman and if you found what you are looking for.

Green Woman? Oh, Vera?

Oh, so you did find Vera? Ok. Good.

So you stopped by my home just to follow up on a phone call from over two weeks ago?

No. Just wanted to make sure you were talking about the actress Vera and not Nikko.

Nikko? Who is that?

Oh you would know if you met her.

And if I did?

Run. Run to some far away beach and hide away. She is crazy and anyone who is around her dies. Bad news. It wasn’t her, right?

Not her. We were looking for the actress.


Alex was tired. The last two weeks of chasing down any hint of graveyards, clubs and other locations Anubis might be found had left him drained.

On top of that Alex had been trying to stand in as the Warden of Chicago. Spending untold hours in Accorded Grounds around Chicago in case anyone needed help. So far no one had approached him for help.

His relationship with Bo had grown. Alex was happy to learn his summoning of the Spirit of Knowledge had worked. Bo really knew weapons, but not much else. While Alex was a bit concerned Bo was more than he seemed and not in his control, for now he seemed benign.

Flipping through a Chicago Reader while sitting in McAnally’s pub Alex an article jumped out at Alex. A family had built a replica of Ramses II’s tomb as their private residence out in Wadsworth. The family which lived there was considering opening their home again to some limited tours in the near future.

This was a promising lead! Time to call out to the others for help.


Imogene grabbed a large paper coffee cup as she moved slowly towards the counter. Business had been good the last few weeks. Isabella was becoming a decent backup bakers and learning more and more. She also had become very religious going to mass when ever Imogene would let her go.

Mary did a good job with the front of the shop. She currently was engaged with some customer with an European accent. They both appeared oblivious to a large spider on the counter near them. Imogene quickly gathered a large cup and tossed it over the spider casually to not arouse suspicion.

As she reached for the cup to move it away she pulled her hand back quickly noticing the spider was not under the cup, but just behind it. The sudden motion alerted the others. Mary, always being practical, quickly swept up the spider with a broom and dust pan. She took the trapped creature outside and tossed it into.


Paddy sat down on the bus seat. As his back touched the backrest he could still feel her claw marks on his back. The raven haired beauty from his dream had left real claw marks on his back. Her coal black eye staring at him. Why ask she asked him to name her?

He tried to put her out of his mind. He needed to focus on the test today. Too much of his final grade was riding on it.

The bus bounced and Paddy’s eye met with a dark haired stranger. The man kept staring a Paddy furrowing his brow.

“Yes?” asked Paddy.

“It is probably nothing. You just look like. Would you name happen to be Paddy? Paddy Murphy?”

“Actually it is.”

“Wow. Now that is a coincidence. Hi Paddy. I’m Archie.”

“Hi. Do I know you?”

“No. We have never met. I was once knew your father.”

Paddy sat in stunned silence. His father. The man he knew nothing about. His mother had never spoken of him. From what he had gathered from one of his aunts his mother had gone to Ireland as a young lady, met someone and came back pregnant.

“Really?”

“Yes. He once called me a trusted Lieutenant. I saw you mother yesterday at Church. She is looking well.”

“Oh, how was Father Flanagan sermon?” ask Paddy, knowing that the Father had been out.

“Oh, he was out ill. Another of the juniors filled his place. I understand he did well. My stop is coming up here. I’ll be in town for a few days on business. Funny enough your father is who got me into this business.”

“What do you do?”

“I am schooled as a barrister. My business is to mediate between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. Each has many relics and other historical items which the other values. I help mediate and facilitate agreement to allow for exchanges when they can be found. I am actually on my way to one such exchange. Perhaps you would be interested to come along?”

“I have a test I need to go to.”

“Here is my card. I’ll be a the Sheraton. Stop by if you have some time.”

Paddy took a look at the card. Archie Lartessa. Antique Exchange.


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Season 1; Episode 1 - Pilot (Session 4)

Game Time: March 18th, 2012
Real World: December 28, 2012

After a lazy Sunday morning consisting of sleeping in for all but Imogene and her new wards who spend it at mass, the group gathers at Alex’s condo. Isaac gives Alex a bottle to replace some of what he drunk. “I brought you this for next time. Looks like it’s next time.” Isaac then pours himself a drink.

Alex shares his story with the group. “I was told to seek out the Coyote who would lead me to the Green Woman.” He then turns to Isaac. “So who is she?”

“Uh, what?”

“Well, clearly you are a changer of shapes that I recently met. Do you know who the Green Woman is?”

Isaac thinks for a bit? Someone does come to mind. “You couldn’t mean the actual Green Woman. She was consort to one of the first emissaries of power to the Court of ScitFi. She hasn’t been seen in over 40 years.” Seeing the others missing the connection he continues. “She was a consort of James Tiberius Kirk.”

“No way.”

“This is messed up.”

“Wow.”

Alex stays focused “So, can you reach her?”

“Uh… give me a moment.” Isaac whips out his phone and starts to dial. “Just hope Mom isn’t there.” The phone rings a few times.

“Hello?”

“Dad, it’s Isaac.”

“Hello son! Great to hear your voice. How are you my boy?”

“I am well. You?”

“Doing great. News is 24/7 out here in New York.”

“I have an odd question for you. I am trying to track down the Green Woman.”

“The who?”

“Vena.”

“Vena?”

“Back from the 60’s.”

“What do you want with that old bag of bones?”

“You have to admit she was hot once. I am trying to track her down for some friends out here.”

“Oh. Um. I am not really sure. Let me think on it for a bit and get back to you, ok?”

“Sure thing. So how are you and Mom?”


Alex, Dom and Imogene head off to Maria’s apartment on the South Side. They convince a neighbor to buzz them in suggesting they had won some sort of contest for cupcakes.

Reaching Maria’s flat on 4th floor Alex freezes the lock and Dom forces the door open. The lock tumbles across the floor as a pungent odor assaults everyone’s senses from the door way. There was no one home.

As Imogene leads the way toward the living room where she finds torn out pictures of Rod Blagojevich from magazines or papers pinned to the wall with assorted knives and forks. Dom sees several of the knives are a match to the knives they had taken from the vagrants in the library.

Imogene continued to the kitchen. Dark shadows of assorted clutter all over the counters. The vague rounded shapes of numerous pots and pans, plus a few opened cartons and containers. Several dark unlabelled jars. From the look of it, someone had been cooking up a storm.

And over it all, and overpowering smell of dried blood.

The cartons were for sugar, butter, walnuts, caramel chips, and other ingredients. The pots and pans all had been used for baking brownies. Maria must have made a dozen batches of brownies here. And scattered around the counter space, mixed in with the other ingredients, a couple of boxes labeled “live centipedes” and a dozen empty jars of now-dried blood.

Imogene fought back a gag reflex. She had seen cooking like this before, but never something completely Betty-Crocker-Off-Her-Rocker psychotic like this. There was definitely something seriously demented about a woman who not only made voodoo brownies out of insects and blood, but who then took the trouble to add the optional walnuts and caramel chips for flavor.

The recipe seemed familiar. It reminder her of something called the Elixir of the Heart which would weaken the will of others to make them more pliable to your own. Dangerous and dark magic for any caster to attempt. The organization she had left would consider this grounds for termination on site. Not good.

Alex has a similar thought. To notify the Wardens Alex decides to order a pizza via Dom’s phone with a secret message for Harry Dresden about what has been found at the apartment.

Imogene slips back to the bedroom with a simple queen size bed and bureau. The room was covered in maps and blueprints. She notes the library, church, hospital, museum and a new condo complex still under construction on Lake Shore Drive.

It was then she heard the bedroom door close revealing one of the vagabonds.


Imogene opened the door to Alex’s bedroom, her clothing clearly disheveled a bit, her face flush. Alex comes out a few steps behind her and closes the door. Dom continued his relating the tale of the apartment to the others.

“You should of heard her scream. Jamie Lee Curtis would of given her an award.”.

Imogene cuts in “It wasn’t that bad.”

Alex attempts to guide Imogene’s arm down gently to her side. She pulls away quickly, angry eyes directed at Alex.

" Healing magic isn’t some miracle. You need to take it easy for a bit or the wound will tear back open." Alex calmly shares.

Irritation growing, Imogene keeps her attention on Dom “What you are not sharing is it was not just another street person. The guy who attacked me was a zombie.”

“You mean he was up on PCP?” asked Paddy.

“No. Zombie. Undead. Brought back to life. Odd thing was he was using a Sony walkman from the ‘80s for the heartbeat. I’ve never heard of such modern technology working with magic like that.”

“Well, Isaac and I didn’t find much unexpected at the museum. Same sigil as before. Your zombie experience explains why the bodies found there were dug up from a graveyard. I did find a hit on the Internet on that Alberto name you found at the apartment. Seems he was a road worker who was killed while on the job. Seems the guy who hit him had one of those licensees illegally bought under the Ryan administration.”

With lots of puzzle pieces, but no clear picture coming through the next step was obvious. The condo site downtown by the river.


The boat pulled up behind the construction site. Everyone slipped off quietly.

“Isaac, where did you get this motor boat?”

“I know a guy.”

Looking over the edge into the pit of the construction site they saw the beginnings of the framework and a crane. A large group of men in the same green jackets as seen before with a small Spanish woman standing in the middle of them. The small woman chanting in Portuguese as she points at a figure hanging by his feet from the crane elevated a good 4 stories off the floor.

“That must be Maria. Ritual magic. And she is close to finishing it.” Alex notes.

Paddy, Isaac and Dom sneak down into the pit and hid behind the crane. A chanting stops with a clap of thunder. The little woman pulls a knife out and look up.

“And now you shall pay for my son’s death Rod Blagojevich”

“Damn. Do you still want to save him?”

“I guess.”

Dom throws a knife at the lady hitting her n the shoulder blade. “STOP THEM MY CHILDREN!”.

Isaac crawls up on the cab on the crane and is immediately surrounded by three zombie who climb like an experienced parkour team. The beating he receives is brutal dislocating his shoulder.

“They got more of those walkmans!” Isaac shouts.
Alex jumps down into the fray and throw a hex, shorting out one of the walkmans. The zombie falls.

Iomgene jumps into the fray and throws a packet of powdered sugar at the little woman. “Silentium!” The screaming woman now silenced those in the fray hear former Governor Blagojevich screaming from the crane top. “HELP! THIS IS NOT GOLDEN!”

Paddy jumps into the cab of the crane and pulls a random lever. The crane start creaking forward, it’s break released.

Maria conjures a wave of little black globes of goo which swarm around everyone. Alex screams as one of the goblets fall upon him. The others dodge away. The goo gone they look at see a crater where Maria use to be standing. Imogene hears her former teacher’s voice “If you do not control your power it can destroy you.”


The other zombies eliminated the group lowers the former Governor to the ground. “What a mess. Give me a phone and I can clean this up.”

“A phone?”

“You know. A cell.”

The group look suspiciously at Rod as Isaac hands him his phone. He quickly dials.

“Tom, it’s Rod. Yeah I know I’m not on the plane…. I’ve got a problem here. Some people just saved me. Down on East North Water Street where the Spire will be…. Yeah, I’m ok. Now these people that helped me. Call them your security consultants or something….”

The conversation goes on. Isaac listens in as Rod goes on weaving a tale of conspiracy. It is as if he is witnessing a lieomancer at work. Looking at the various facts a picture started to emerge he had missed before. Rezco had also been involved with the development of Waterfront. That piece of real estate was now caught up in so many lawsuits between an Iraqi millionaire in a food for oil scandal and several of the Chicago powerful elite include some sort of ties to President Obama. What ever this was it was all about keeping development off of Waterfront. He was sure of it.

Rod hung up the phone. “Ok. The police will be here shortly. Let me do most of the talking. You are a security team hired by Chief Tom Dart for my transfer to the plane to Colorado. I’ll have you out of here in 30 minutes.”


True to his word they were allowed to head out after some short statements. Isaac told everyone what he had realized and the group headed to Waterfront. It did not take much searching. On a young tree standing out amongst the scrub Paddy noticed what seemed like a translucent drape. Pulling it back he opened a portal to the Never-Never.

Alex was stunned “How did you open that with ritual magic so quickly?”

Paddy looked confused. “Uh, I don’t do magic. It just looked like something that could open.”

A soft green light spilled from the portal.

“Well, lets see what’s on the other side.”

The other side is still night, but the starts above are different. Instead of the city there is a great forest around them. A river flows matching where the Chicago River was. At the river side there is a campfire surround by sitting logs. Tending the fire is a fey, made clear by her pointed ears and green skin.

Alex, Isaac and Paddy approach the camp fire cautiously. The figure turns on their approach. Despite not yet having his mage eye Alex can feel tremendous power with the figure. Stronger than he had ever felt.

“Welcome guest. Please sit down. I invite you to have tea with me.”

As they all approach they notice the trees around the camp are carved totems of various animals, including a bear and an eagle.

“I am glad you have found this place. Sometime the invitations are not received. I am here to explain what is happening.”

“Finally.” said Paddy.

“I have story to tell you. It is a bit of a long story so do not ignore your tea.”

As the story is told each of them feel like this is less a story and more unlocking a memory. They each feel the heat of the fires described. The fear of the odds faced. The loss of loved ones. A moment passes before each of them realizes the entire tale was told in just twelve words.

My name is Nikko and this is not the future I chose.

After we defeated Kyuss we came to realize we were the new guardians, tasks with protecting all of creation. Over time we have been tested in this role many times. At times, our quest has been so dire that we have enlisted others to help hold back the darkness. To ensure creation continues."

“I do not know what form the darkness will take this time. I will be here when you have questions or need guidance.”

Silence took everyone as they tried to comprehend what they had just taken in. Highland. Kyuss. Eretz. They were all real?

Imogene broke the silence. “For how long have you been doing this.”
“More millennium than you can even comprehend. For some of us, age is not a factor.”
“Why us? Why now?”
“I do not know how the universe chooses, but the right people are always chosen as was I long ago.”

“Are the others still around?” asked Dom.
“I believe they are still about. I have not been in contact with them for some time.”

Paddy asks “How did I open the portal here?”
“It is in your blood.”
“Who is my father?”
“That I do not know, but you are a scion of the blood of Tír na nÓg and the world of man. As with all of mixed blood one day you will need to make a choice. To be of the Fey or to be a mortal. Those of us who live as Fey have no choice. Only purpose. Only a mortal has choice. And with that choice, your destiny will unfold.”
“Will the portal remain there?”
“I have ensured the portal and the land it rests upon shall not be disturbed for some time. I can warn you that time is not always stable when you visit here. Only come here when needed.”

Alex then asked “Do you know of a Red Court plague?”
“I do not.”
“I was given a vision to seek out the Green Skinned woman who would lead me to a cure.”
“Hmm. A vampire’s powers are not something I would understand. Perhaps you should seek out someone who worships the Grandfather. Longshadow comes to mind.”
“Do you know where he might be?”
“As I said we have not been in touch for some time. I have heard in your city there is a temple to Anubis. Seek him there.”

Isaac then spoke. “My father is very secretive. What can you tell me about him?”
“Your father was captain of a Starship for 12 minutes. He saved 800 lives, including your mother’s and yours. I dare you to do better.”

As Dom asks another question a soft hum starts in the distance. It quickly grows to defining proportions. They all fall over loosing consciousness, including Nikko, as a brilliant white flash covers the night sky.

Unsure how long they have been out they help each other recover. Nikko wakes with a startled gaps. “Something has happened. You must get back. Chicago’s guardian has fallen.”

  • End Episode. Roll Credits.*
View
Season 1; Episode 1 - Pilot (Session 3)

Game Time: March 17th, 2012
Real World: October 30, 2012

The knocking at the door pulls Alex away from the rest as they discuss the clues and next steps. Through the peep hole he spots a rather upset stepfather.

“Antonio. Hi. Listen, about this morning.” Alex pauses as he takes a closer look at Antonio. There are rips in his clothing and is that blood?

“Antonio?”

A quite, strained voice replies.

“Get your coat. We are going to Edinburgh. Now.”

“Why?”

“They got your mother.”

“Who?”

“The Red Court.”


“You make one ugly human Isaac.” says Dom holding the history book.

“I am a god as a fey!”

Ignoring the exchange Alex heads out with barely a word to the others asking them only to lock up when they leave. Not one to miss opportunity Paddy makes his way around the condo ending up in the kitchen putting a sandwich together. Isaac has similar plans for the liquor cabinet. Imogene tries to slow Isaac down, but no one can hold back the master of vice for long.

Sandwich in hand Paddy continues his tour of Alex’s home. Just before entering the doorway Dom slips in front of him for the his various weapons on the bed.

“What else do you think he keeps in here?”

BOKNOWS.

“What?”

“That wasn’t me”

The pair look around the room. Dresser, closet, night stand, bathroom.

BOKNOWS.

“Uh, Imogene; Isaac. You might want to come in here. It’s getting weird.”

Carefully the foursome check out the bedroom suite. Very nice and empty bathroom. A good size closet with some great clothes. Nothing under the bed.

Paddy is sure the voice came from the bed.

“Hi there. Who are you again?”

BO.

Definitely from the bed. Likely the staff thrown on the bed.

“I just brought that for Alex.” notes Dom as he carefully removes his weapons from the bed.

“You mean the bo staff?” asks Isaac.

“Yeah.”

The four back out of the room and close the door carefully. Never mess with a mages swag.

“That’s enough strange for me for one night boys. I’m heading home. Try to leave the place standing.” Imogene heads out. The other three chat for a bit before heading out to find some schwarma.

Iomgene tries wiping the weariness out of her eyes. Staying up late last night had not been a good idea. The Tracking Flour potion had not found anyone besides her and the girls in the upstairs bathroom. How had those PROJECT TOMORROW tags gotten into her wastebasket up there?

She spots Mary coming out of the kitchen with a tray of fresh bakes goods to put into the front display. Could it be that easy?

“Mary, do you know what this is?”

“Project Tomorrow? Yeah. It’s a charity organization that helps people get off the street. Soup kitchen, shelter and a second hand store. Isabella and I got some clothes there a while back.”

….

Dom shuffles Imogene’s bags of donations around once more. “So this place is just a few more blocks, right?”

“Been meaning to give some of these things for a while now.”

“So how do you want to play it?”

“Let me do the talking here.”

Imogene walks into the second hand store and strikes up a conversation with the store’s clerk. Project Tomorrow’s has roots with a number of small religious groups in the local area. Their main focus is providing a first step to help those who are looking for their first steps to get off the streets. After meeting Guyzell Cooper who runs the shelter, and a small local church, the pair volunteer to help out that evening in the soup kitchen.

Isaac slips into the soup kitchen. Faces of nearby patrons at the odor he is giving off tells him his disguise is more than adequate. Scowling he grabs some soup and finds a seat.

“Where you from stranger?”

Isaac plays it cool. “Around. I hear the soup here is pretty good.”

“Meh. There is better. But they don’t preach you up here.”

“I miss Ms. Maria’s brownies though.”

“Who?”

“Ms. Maria. She use to give us brownies after we left. They were so good.”

“Don’t pay attention to him. Coke head.”

“Man, I never touched the junk.”

Isaac is quick to pick up on the opportunity to get this chatty guy alone. “I know where to get some killer brownies. Just like Ms. Maria’s.”

“You serious man? "

“Yeah. Come on.”

The pair head towards Heavenly Cupcakes with Paddy acting as a distant shadow. Isaac’s new friend, Conrad, becomes more and more agitated along the way.

“How much longer man. I need my brownie!”

Conrad’s rant starts becoming physical. Isaac and Paddy quickly subdue the man into a bawling pile of pathetic. Isaac gets on a phone booth at a local CTA station and calls Imogene.

“Gonna need some brownies. And something to calm this guy down. Fast.”

“I got just the thing.”

Imogene pulls out of her special supply some brownies she had baked this morning. It just had seemed right somehow. Brownies of Contentment.

They navigate Conrad back to the shop and the brownies. As the magic sinks in he calms down and shares Maria had stopped coming to the mission a few weeks ago. Maria had provided some brownies that made him feel stronger and faster. With the little information he had out Conrad heads back out onto the streets a calm and content.

Paddy shadows Conrad for a bit wandering the streets ending up in Millennium Park. Bored while watching Conrad sleep he thinks on Isaac’s comments about the Resko connection. Causally he wanders up to building on N. Elston and the former offices of Rezmar Corp.

The lock on the door is simple enough to pop and Paddy slips under the various police tapes. The lobby is mostly empty. He makes his way back to the executive offices. Mr. Resko’s old office is nearly empty except for a lamp, desk and a few empty boxes.

In the hall Paddy notices the office next door has a name placard of Jack Bowling. Could it be the J.B. from the book? Opening the door he sees an empty office. Around the office are some yellow sticky notes that say things like “Book Shelf” and “Old Oil Painting”. He takes two of them and heads out.

While locking the door he notices a new sticky right by the lock. “Paddy, meet me in the car garage at the end of the block, 5th floor. 5 minutes. – J.B.”. Paddy rushes with inhuman speed downstairs and toward the meeting spot. Whomever this JB is not only did he realize Paddy was here, he knew about his unnatural speed as on one else could make this distance in such a short time.

Paddy palms and forehead felt hot as they always do when he truly sprints. Eventually a high end car circled down from the upper floors, the driver side tinted window rolling down as it approached Paddy.

“Good day young Mr. Murphy.”

“Hello Mr. Bowling.”

Jack Bowling is an older man, but in good health despite the white hair. He hides his eyes behind mirrored glasses. He does not look like a man in trouble with the law or without his fortune. The pair sits in silence for a moment before Jack breaks it.

“I don’t have long Mr. Murphy.” The voice was so devoid of emotion it was almost metallic.

“You know my name. You want to tell me what’s going on?”

“Having some strange things happen recently? More than usual?”

“Yeah. The library. That book.”

“Good. You’ve found the secret library.”

Paddy sighed internally. Why does Jack need to be so obtuse?

“So, are you going to tell me what is going on?”

“Don’t assume that things are always as they seem. I want you to imagine something for a moment, Mr. Murphy. Imagine you are in charge of protecting something. You know that if too much attention is paid to what you are doing, then someone might come after this thing you are protecting, or they might come after you. Now, how would you go about ensuring that too much attention was never paid to you?”

Paddy tries to make sense of what he was hearing. Isaac is the conspiracy buff. He would know what to ask. This is just annoying.

“I’ll tell you, Mr. Murphy. You set up a charismatic decoy. Someone to draw attention.”

“So Rezko is just what? A front man?”

Bowling ignored the question and continued with his story. “The decoy allowed others to work behind the scenes, unnoticed and unhindered. Now imagine that this decoy was, while useful, still expensive to maintain. And then one day, fairly recently, we were done. And the decoy was no longer needed. So my employers are letting him fall.”

Paddy started to get annoyed. “Do you have anything to say that will be the least useful or make any sense what so ever?”

“Stay with your friends. They will lead you to the answers you seek. They have your back. And you will have theirs. It is all you will have for the coming darkness.”

“Uh-huh. So you got nothing then. Can you at least send me a post card from where ever you are going?”

“Perhaps Mr. Murphy. May good luck pursue you each morning and night.”

Bowling put the car into drive and leaves the garage. Paddy vows someday he will find whomever creates these odd ball oracles and give them something to think about.

Isaac took another sip of the soup from the Project Tomorrow kitchen. It was not that tasty. Soon he could be home with a nice glass from his home collection and get back on the new track he had found. There were 5 construction projects Rezko had been involved with in the past year through his generous donations. The library, the hospital and the church were all involved. The next two was a conference area in the Museum of Industrial Science and a construction site for a new mixed income condo tower in downtown. First, focus on that task at hand.

The conversation so far had been pretty dark. Gangs getting tougher. More beatings and fewer safe places for those on the streets to catch a nap. Almost everyone claimed to know a guy who knew a guy that disappeared.

“Hey new boy. Heard you took Conrad out this morning. You must be one tough dude. That guy is seriously messed up.”

“Ah, he’s a softy. Just needed some sweets and he calmed right down.”

“Well brother, we owe you one. This is the first peaceful meal we have had hear since he first showed up. Heard he was sleeping off what ever it was you gave him off in the park.”

Meanwhile in the kitchen Imogene rushed into Gyzuell’s office to grab some medicine as he was suddenly ill. While in the office she by chance comes across an old address listing with Maria’s home address. “You have guided me here and I will follow” she prayed, slipping the address into her purse. She then hurried out with the medicine.

….

Antonio had seemed preoccupied instead of quizzing him the entire way to Edinburgh. Alex asked him about the unlock symbol. Antonio said it was part of a process to tear down a powerful ritual called the Five Locked Walls, designed to protect someone. He did not inquire why Alex would be asking about it.

Antonio left Alex at the first guard post due to some sort of major diplomatic event limiting access. It had been a long, boring wait. Then the vision came.

The old Native American said his mother was very ill with a magical plague created by the Red Court. Edinburgh was off limits or the plague she carried would spread. The Indian and Antonio were already caught in its grasp. They would care for her as long as they could. Alex needed to find the cure or they were all lost.

The final words of the message still echoed in his mind. “Seek out your new friend the Coyote. He shall lead you to the Green Woman; And she to the cure.” As the portal returning Alex to Chicago closed the cold Chicago wind cut through his coat.

View
Season 1; Episode 1 - Pilot (Session 2)

Game Time: March 16th, 2012
Real World: May 27, 2012

Isaac waved to the barkeep for another round. He was not sure how long he had been at the bar, but he could still see the faces of his attackers. Wide emotionless eyes started at him as he watched Dom and Padrig beat them down in the flickering light of his camera.

The thought seeing those eyes again in the photos he took first needed to be washed away by the whiskey. How many had that been? No matter. The cool bar top stopped the room from spinning. Sort of. Isaac knew he performed better when drunk. Sharp as a tack.

“Another round for my friend here”. Isaac felt someone sit on the stool next to him. As he raised his head he saw the tennis shoes, faded blue suit and that ugly 40 year old hat. Kolchak. “Better make it a double.” Isaac slurred.

“Isaac my friend. You look like you are have a good night. Celebrating some big new story? What you working on?”

“Nothing today Kolchak. Nice and quite day.”

“Really. A slow news day for you? Huh. I’ve had quite the day. In fact I was just out at a church on the west side that had been broken into and vandalized.”

“Fascinating.”

“Oh, it is. It is. You see they broke a large glass window, went all the way across the main hall and then carved up the podium.”

“Whoopee. To think when we were kids they just looked for a wall to spray paint.”

Kolchak draws a quick sketch on a napkin. “Well, they carved this into the podium. Ever seen anything like that.”

“Huh. Just saw that down at the Ward Library. Er. I mean no. Never saw that before. It was like a carving I saw. At the Library. I mean the Newberry. I mean a museum.”

Kolchak jumped out of his chair. “Thanks Isaac. Knew I could count on you.”

Yup. Sharp as a … a … pointy thing.

Imogene woke early to get a head start on the day. A few good engagements and she could establish a good reputation for her business, Heavenly Cupcakes. If the work didn’t overwhelm her. Mentally adding picking up a Help Wanted sign to her to do list she focused on the baking.

The knock on the delivery door startled her. It is too early for a normal delivery. Wiping her hands clean she tried to think what special delivery would show up at this hour. Who ever it was they were persistent as the knocking grew louder. And why wouldn’t this red paste get off her hands?

KNOCK. KNOCK.

BLOOD RED.

Imogene slowly started to back away from the steel door. A hand reflexively went to a pocket to ready a potion.

BANG!

The door flew off it’s hinges revealing a floating cowled figure which raised a robed hand which was pointing at her. She fled toward the front room, screaming.

Imogene shadow

The cool morning air breezed against the light layer of sweat Dom had built up. Running down the shoreline with the sun just on the horizon. The day was off to a great start. Passing by a few pedestrians on the thinly populated path Dom kept a steady pace.

“Dom?”

The voice brought him to a full stop. It couldn’t be.

“Dom? Is that you?”

Dom slowly turned around. She looked as beautiful as ever.

“Alahandra? Is that you?”

Her smile dimed the rising sun. “Dom it has been so long. Ever since…” The smile faded. Dom’s faded back into a memory. Of that last mission. They had died. All of them. An only survivor.

“You are looking good. Since when have you been in Chicago?”

“I grew up here. Came back after Joe was buried. To start over.”

It was then Dom noticed the small lump attached to her hip. The boy was maybe 6 years old.

“Say hello Joseph. This is Mr. Donatello. He was a good friend of your Dad.”

The little boy pressed harder into her leg, as if he could disappear inside it.

“He is a little shy. I am actually in a bit of a rush. We should have lunch sometime, yes?”

Dom was lost in the little boy. He recalled when he had introduced Alahandra to his best friend. While he had wanted her they were such a good match. And the boy looked so much like Joe. “Um, yes. Lunch would be great. I have a shop in town. Here’s a card. Give me a call.”

“So good to see you. Bom dia.”

The pair left Dom alone with the shades in his memory haunting him.

The sting of the pop quiz he tanked still fresh Paddy pushed the pace. Maybe journalism was not the right major for him. He could all but hear a clock ticking as his sophomore year was winding up. Soon he would need to declare a major as he could not stay in General Studies.

Reaching the office his manager called out. “Paddy! Where have you been. I have been trying to call you all morning.”

“Just at school like normal. I’m not late.”

“Not for me, but your Mom’s been calling. She’s really upset. Seems to think you were in some sort of fight last night and has been unable to reach you.”

Paddy recalled Imogene handing him back his ruined phone. One of the cops on the scene must of called her. “Um. I can explain. My phone broke last night. I had not had time to pick up a new one.”

“Well go give her a call. You can use the land line in that office.”

“Thanks.”

As Paddy dialed he could already hear the fight to come. She would want him to move back home. He would have to quit his job as a bike delivery and go back to working with her at the shoe shop.

With no answer at home or the shoe shop Paddy considered where she might be. She is probably camped out on his apartment door step. With none of his roommates in she was likely in the hall building up steam. Definitely not a lucky day.

Isaac turned the corner still unsure how he was talked into this. “All I ordered was a cupcake. Not to act as a witness.”

Paddy sighed. “It should just take a moment. I just need her to see I am all right. She might be a bit upset, but it shouldn’t be too bad as long as there is a witness. Right? And I brought a chocolate cupcake to help smooth things over.”

The pair walked up to the apartment entrance where Paddy’s mother stood vigil.

“Padraig! Where have you been? Are you ok?”

“I’m fine mom”

Isaac munches on a cupcake from the box as he watches the show.

“Your cousin called last night. I have been worried sick. Why didn’t you call?”

“It was too late to call when I got home last night.”

Wow the rum cupcakes are good.

“That’s no excuse. You were in a fight with a gang. You call.”

“Yes mam.”

And the icing delicious.

“I told you the city was much to dangerous. You will of course move back home now.”

“No mom. We have been over this. My work and classes are down here.”

Ohhh! This one is chocolate!

“Padrig Murphy! This is no time to argue. You will move home and help me with the shop. No more of this city business.”

“Mom, I love you. But I am staying here. I’d like to introduce you to my friend Isaac.”

“Mice mo meem mu.”

“You are hanging out with drunk hobos?”

“Sigh, no mom. We found this great cupcake place. I even got you your favorite.”

Isaac offers up the now empty cupcake box as he tries to swallow.

Alex wakes early to a throbbing head and a ringing door bell. Checking quickly in a mirror on the way to the door he sees the outline of the wall on his face from the night before is starting to turn black a blue.

Behind the door Alex finds a currier holding a message from his stepfather. The man does not believe in phones. Of course he wants to meet right away this morning for some physical exercise and fire evocations.

Tipping the currier Alex closes the door and readies himself with a 5 Hour Energy drink as he dresses. Just like his stepfather to want to do more combat magic. The guy just loves his hero, the hotshot warden of this town. Don’t they know there are other ways to use magic. More subtle, not to mention pleasing?

Bolting out of the condo complex Alex bumps right into Cordelia Brown, a local socialite he has been trying to meet again for months. She seems to be his best bet to finally get into club Excalibur and up his clientele.

“Pardon me. Oh, Alex? Alex! Oh my, what happened?”

“Good morning Cordelia. Oh, I just had a small disagreement with some architecture.”

“Oh no. It looks painful. Do you need a doctor?”

“No need. It is nothing. It is wonderful running into you this morning.”

“Oh, poor baby. Come. We must do breakfast. You can tell me all about this offending architecture.”

“How could I possible refuse such an invitation?”

Stepfathers can wait.

Imogene sits awake in bed screaming, her alarm clock gripped tightly in her hands. It was all just a dream. A really bad dream. Definitely not a premonition.

Shoot, I’m late. Need to get started on cooking for today.

Rushing down stairs she heads into the kitchen and starts to ready supplies. The steel door catches her eye. Grabbing a basting brush and a vial of holy water she keeps around he bathes the door.

It was all just a dream. A really bad dream. Definitely not a premonition.

She pulls together various dough and mixes and soon in lost in her work. While working on a special order red velvet cake she hears a light knock on the rear door. Startled her hands are suddenly covered in red food coloring. Much too early for a delivery today.

It was all just a dream. A really bad dream. Definitely not a premonition.

She wipes her hands on a handy towel as she slowly spies the door. “Who is it?” she calls. Imogene does here a muffled voice from the other side. She slowly approaches.

“Who’s there?”

“M…an…” The voice is much too soft to make out.

Saying a prayer she slowly unlocks the door and peers out into the alleyway. She spies two young girls, a lanky one and a shorter, heavier girl. Both look like recently reformed goths. The tall one is handing her a piece of paper. Imogene takes the paper.

Dear Imogene,

I heard through the grapevine your store is in need of some hired help. These two young ladies could really use a good start in the world and I thought your needs would overlap. Please see it in your heart to take them in.

Regards,
Father Anthony Forthill
Saint Mary of the Angels Church

“One moment ladies.” Imogene makes a quick call to Father Forthill, who she knows by reputation only. By phone she quickly confirms the note is from him. He explains the girls are coming out of some sort of abusive situations and need a job and a home.

“Come on in ladies. Why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself.” While not ideal candidates she pictured for her store, the tall one has some retail experience and the other is somewhat familiar with a kitchen. Soon she puts them to work and gets on with the never ending chores of a small business owner.

The rush of the early morning behind her Imogene sits down with the strange book she picked up the previous night before. She recalled grabbing it out of instinct from the table Paddy was looking at just as the lights had turned off. It wasn’t even until she got home did she realize she had stuffed it in her purse.

History of the Chicago Coin Club. What an odd book to pick up. She flips through it quickly. Nothing of note in the book and it read as dry as the title.

Over the next few moments individually Dom, Alex, Isaac and Paddy enter the store. Discussion turns to the symbol found the previous night which Imogene and Alex both agree it is an arcane symbol which means unlock.

Imogene hands the book over to Alex hoping he can find something she might of missed. Alex is also provided some knives by Dom from the night before and the PROJECT TOMORROW tags by Paddy. Using his ward-sight glasses Alex reviews the items, but finds no magical ward on any of the items.

Alex decides to take the items back to his condo to review the collected items in more detail and is joined by Dom. Paddy and Isaac decide to visit the hospital the assailants likely ended up at to see what they could learn . Imogene stays at her business and plans to join the others after it closes.

Isaac drove as Paddy read the report from the morgue.

“Get this. The coroner says that the body showed typical signs of a rough street life. During the autopsy a centipede crawled out of the subjects abdomen, fell to the floor and crawled down the drain. I know when hungry enough people will eat anything, but ick.”

“Clearly you have not tried a good tequila.”

“Um, yeah. Not gonna ask.”

The church was in the suburbs and a fairly large size. The empty parking lot said not much was happening this Friday night, but they do find someone working late to let them in. Their investigation finds the only damage to the building is a large glass window had been smashed as a point of entry and one of the wooden pulpits had that same odd symbol from the library craved into it.

The helpful member of the church mentions they recently finished a major renovation on the structure by Rezmar Corp. The name rings a bell with for Isaac, but he is unable to place why until the name Tony Rezco comes up as the one providing the donation to fund the renovation.

Back at his condo Alex reviews the Coin Collection book Imogene took from the library. A closer physical inspection of the book reveals nothing hidden in the binding or margins. The check out log in the book shows it has only been out 6 times over the last 10 years, 3 times by a J.B. in the last 7 years.

Alex decides to summon a spirit of knowledge to learn more about the knives. He repeatedly tries to build the containment circle, but has trouble focusing. Ensuring Dom is well protected he continues to try, slowly building the energy. Dom can’t resist taking a small peek.

Paddy, Isaac and Imogene meet up in the hallway leading up to Alex’s looking at what looks like a blown out light fixture. It seems out of place in such a nice place. Carefully they approach his door and knock. Alex answers the door. With glowing eyes and pointy teeth.

“Welcome all. We had a little trouble.”

In the background the trio see Dom lying on the floor mumbling something quietly to himself that sounds like gunfire.

Imogene breaks the stunned silence. " My Alex, what remarkably sharp teeth you have".

As they help Alex revive Dom they review the clues collected over the day. To the pile Dom adds he noticed the library where the attack was had just been renovated. Alex adds a picture of the class of 1924 found in the coin collecting book where each them find someone that looks like them.

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Season 1; Episode 1 - Pilot

Game Time: March 15th, 2012
Real World: March 17th, 2012

Alek looked about the library’s main halls. The building was clearly old. Faux wood the front desk and the 50 year old florescent lighting. Definitely not the Newberry. Approaching the librarian at the front desk Alek cleared his throat quietly to get her attention.

“Excuse me Miss. I am looking for part of the collection on Greek…”

“Shhh!” the Librarian scolded him, finger pressed to her lip. She then turned back to her reading.

Alek stood silently in shock for a moment.

“I said I’m looking for a recent display book. Greek coins and their parent cities by John Ward and Sir Geroge Francis Hill.”

Without looking up she replied “Greek history books to the back of the first floor, right side.”

“Thank you.”

Paddy came in with a flustered. No place in the city is hard for him to find, yet he must of missed the Library entrance four or five times. “I must be tired from all the extra class work.”

Passing through the front entrance with the normal pictures of rich men in suits he pauses for a moment. There is a face in one picture he recognizes, but cannot place. With the placard missing and a paper to finish he drops the thought and moves to the main hall.

What luck this library’s topic of the month is on coin collecting. Hopefully they would have all of the books he needs. A big sign labeled Numismatics hung over a set of tables in the front lobby. Approaching the tables he see Imogene hovering over the table in the front lobby with her eyes closed.

“Hi Imogene. Looking for some new recipes?”

The small woman jumps startled, receiving a shushing reprimand from the front desk. Demurred, she blushes slightly.

“Oh, hello Patrick. How good to meet you again. No, not tonight. Um, you could say I had the urge to find something to read and well, here I am.”

“It’s Paddy. Well, I’m here on a term paper. These papers won’t write themselves, though I sure wish they would. Are you into coin collecting? That’s what my paper is on and I could really use some help.”

“Coin collecting? No, I could not say I have. Why do you ask?”

Paddy casually points to the big sign overhead.

“Oh my. Well, um. It looked interesting so I came over. I could not say I have ever looked into the subject myself. Well beyond bible passages and … um….”

“Guess I will have to do this the old fashion way and actually read some of these. Lets see what we have here.”

The pair study the options on the table. The front door again slams open as they hear a harsh breeze and the sounds of a breaking storm from outside along with the new visitor.

“Damn it! It better not be damaged!” says the new comer as he pats down a camera with a hand towel from his oversized fanny pack. The Librarian tries her normal rebuke, but to no avail. “Lady, don’t shush me. You have no idea how expensive this thing is and … oh hey! Paddy! Imogene! Fancy meeting you here!”

He strides up to the pair, water still dripping from his coat and baseball hat. “What a storm, right? That thing came out of nowhere.” A loud crack of thunder snapped as if to emphasis the comment. “Whoosh. Hey, either of you have a towel handy?”

Paddy smiles “Hey there Issac. Small world. I might have something in my bag here one minute.”

Another crack of thunder rolls through the building, this time taking the lights out.

“No problem. I have a light somewhere in here under my school books.”

Before finding the light the front door lurches open again. Silhouetted by the dim street lights they see numerous figures making there way in.

Paddy’s vision and reflexes better than most he also see the large knives in the hands of the figures entering. He quickly guides his friends out of the main hall and behind some book cases.

From the front hall comes screams. First cries of battle from the figures storming in and then from the Librarian. Paddy quickly takes his phone out and puts Imogene’s finger on the power button.

“Use the wall to guide you to the rear of the building and call 911.”

The little woman nods in the darkness and takes the phone to the rear. She notices some stairs in the leading to a second floor. She heads up the stairs and takes refuge behind some bookshelves. Her heart pounding she turns the phone on and watches it go through its boot sequence. Shoving the book she had grabbed from the front table into her purse she tries to wait patiently with prayer.

“Oh Holy Father. Please see me through this. And if there is anything you can do to speed up this phone tonight I would really appreciate the help.”

She quickly dials. "Help. There are some street thugs here attack the library…The Walter McDonald Public Library… What do you mean where is that? " She quickly recites the street address. “Please. Hurry. I hear screaming. Who me? I am Imogene. I have a small bakery here in the city. … How close are they? It sounds horrible down there. Hello? Hello? Are you still there?”

Imogene looks at the dead phone, her heart racing ever faster. “Oh God. Please don’t leave me here.” She then remembers the little thing she had in her purse. With the sounds of battle below she steels herself with prayer as she pulls the vial out

Magnificat: anima mea Dominum.
Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est:
et sanctum nomen eius.

Downing the liquid as she returns to the first floor Imogene uses the wall to steady her legs creeping slowly toward the confrontation. In the main hall she sees Issac using his camera flash to provide lighting. The unnatural flickers of light makes it seem as if she is watching some sort of odd home made horror movie.

Issac is kicking a prone man as the tall handsome man from the history section orders the knife wielders to leave. They do not take kindly to his suggestion. Dodging out of the way of their knives he face plants into a wall, falling unconscious.

Imogene sees another smaller man wielding a cane with much ferocity knocking the legs out from the pair gathered around the handsome and heroic, yet unconscious one. Paddy is behind the desk holding off another pair of hoodlums with only his fists like someone out of a storybook. Imogene makes her way to check on the fallen man as Issac shouts what she can only guess is some sort of ancient battle cry, scaring a number of the foes out of the building. The man with the cane moves like water across the battle field, downing the rest.

The unconscious forms of their foes lay across the dark main hall. “These look more like the homeless than a gang.” Paddy observes. He and Dom, as the man with the cane introduced himself, search them. Not finding much Dom takes a few of the knives from the fallen while Paddy noticing all of the jeans were similar finds a tag labeled PROJECT TOMORROW with a handwritten note of LOT 9430 in a few of the pockets.

As Imogene nurses Alek back to consciousness they slowly stand together. The both notice a symbol the attackers had carved into the countertop. Both eyebrows go up and they recognize the symbol. Alek whispers “Unlock?”

It is then the police and EMTs arrive as the lights come back on. The night passes with medical attention and providing numerous statements. The Librarian heaps large amount of praise on those gathered for saving her life.

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Prologue

“It is time.”

“Are they ready?”

“No. Who is? And our guest is nearly here.”

“Hm. This is worse. Our numbers have dwindled.”

“Yet in the darkness even the dimmest…”

“Yeah, yeah. You have not changed a bit. Sigh. Come on. Before I loose my nerve.”

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