Previous session. Stymied and suspicious about the arrival of the ancient spell at their doorstep, the investigators were rocked back on their heels for a moment, thinking about next moves. They decided to visit Drexel, one of Emilia’s weirdo friends. He specialized in how camera technology captures supernatural phenomenon. Emilia called him, finding him still awake and active, and got an invitation to visit.
They got to his place, a massive building Downtown that used to be a dogfood factory that was rezoned and divided up to be apartments. He had the basement as his lair. He let them in through paranoid levels of security, to his tiki lounge oasis of sociability surrounded by the dim clutter of his audio visual equipment.
They waited, watching an episode of “I Dream of Genie” projected onto the treated glass of a fishtank, while he fiddled with the footage they brought him. Then he projected on a whitewashed wall the image that he put together from scraps that flickered across dozens of frames, unsettled; a smeary image of a man in a dark coat with a pale bald head, insubstantial and blurred.
He warned them that they were on the edge of something, and they assured him they were determined to proceed, so he locked his place down further and told them that they were looking at Brick, one of the Powers of the city. There were those with supernatural ability and an agenda, and they were called Powers. (Singleton was also a Power, as was Ghoulaxis.) When they pull in regular people in their spats, those people tend to get used up and destroyed like rodeo clowns at a demolition derby.Brick was a fantastic spy who could be invisible at will, and enlist the aid of animals, and he was a vampire. Sobered, they thanked him for his help, and they left.
The Day Jobs
They got back to the Havershaum estate, and everyone got some sleep but Truc, who stayed up late looking for weird news stories in Blakelee West that could provide context or clues. He read about a huge human trafficking operation that operated out of an old hardware store for years before the FBI busted it with no local help. He read about how a dogfighting operation was neglected three years ago, the dogs escaped, and formed the nucleus for dangerous people-eating dog packs that grew out of control. For charity, the city took the wealthy on safari with fully automatic weapons to get the dog population under control, in addition to putting out poison bait and other less severe but more typical measures. He eventually slept, his head swimming with what horrors might lurk in the silent neighborhoods of Blakelee West.
The next day, Jason went about his business including a charity luncheon on behalf of the family, mundane stuff. Emilia went to class, Truc worked out and managed guard duty, and Terry went to work for Singleton.
Terry went to the head man’s office, and the receptionist asked him to wait; he actually got an appointment with Singleton with minimal waiting! They sat at one of the cozy chair in Singleton’s office, friendly like. Terry shared the brief, with its uneven detail and absence of any mention of the Powers. Singleton reviewed it with interest.
Then he talked to Terry about Brick, who he used to spy on Ghoulaxis for weeks (that’s how his intel was so solid. He had Brick watching the monster all the time.) He noted that Brick tried to bring him in on this, because Fr. Silva was trying to ascend to be one of the Powers of the city. Singleton has a soft spot for corrupt clergy and declined to help out, so it appears Brick went around him to one of his assets. Singleton explained Brick is so agitated because he thinks he has friends, and one of them is threatened, and necromatic magic (including murdered hounds twisted to only see and attack tainted blood) guard the massive cathedral. Singleton left it up to Terry and his investigators, whether they wanted to help Brick or not.
Truc took some time in the afternoon and visited an old friend Downtown. Her name was Dispatch. She was blind, but had a subscription service for criminals, she would give them heads-up with cell phones or ham radio if the law was looking their way, because she had a network of informants with the police. Truc asked her if she knew anything about these police deaths.
She did indeed. The first death was not Stanley, the beat cop. It was the victim’s mother, Isabel Sullivan. Nobody caught the connection because she went to a different morgue. And the cops are freaked out with the deaths in their ranks, it’s a dangerous time to get in their way or appear connected to these killings. Truc thanked the old woman with a foot rub and corn sanding, as per their agreement.
The Way Forward
Terry finished out his day’s work, but left early and got the stuff for a barbecue. Emilia was the first one back from school, and Truc noticed that they were onsite and joined them, with Jason trailing in after his business concluded. Terry made them kebabs and cocktails, and they had a strange summer feast on the golf-course trim lawn, under the flaring changing foliage that slowly drifted down a few leaves at a time all around them in the gathering darkness.
Terry opened with the admission that Truc was right (and that’s pretty much all Truc heard from there on.) So, Singleton had an idea of what was up, but wasn’t directly involved. They talked over some possible directions for the investigation. While the others were eating, Terry called over to the East Precinct of Downtown, where he still had some friends. He found out that the first cop to die, Stanley, didn’t have many friends or family and his effects were boxed up and waiting for pickup. Terry told her to hold them, and the investigators jumped in the SUV and headed over to the Downtown East precinct, where Terry went in to get the box.
They went to a nearby coffee shop and dumped out the box, rifling through the personal stuff, files, and his netbook. Apparently he was working on a terrible novel. He also had a thank you note from Isabel Sullivan for finding Addie Fowler, the only identified victim of the three. The netbook was signed into email, so they discovered an email from Debra Ayers with information on the case, including the names of Addie Fowler and Isabel Sullivan that would not be in the story. They saw that he had kids, and was estranged from their mothers.
Quoth the Raven, “Yo”
A white raven tapped on the glass with its beak. They knew it worked for Brick, so they settled up the tab, boxed up the clues, got a snack for the raven, and headed out. The raven led them down an alley with a big dark spot in the middle. There, they were finally accosted by Brick.
He explained they were out of time. The ritual could be cast every three days, and tomorrow would be the third day. He didn’t want his friend to die. His friend was in danger because she helped the police find the sacrificial victim, and the commissioner had a silver whistle he could use to contact her, and now Fr. Silva had it and would use it to send a ghost to kill her. Brick wasn’t sure she could fight off a super-charged focused assassin ghost, so he wanted them to help prevent the ritual from being cast.
He wanted the altar destroyed; maybe in the attic or basement, there would be a necromatic altar. Or, the silver whistle taken from Fr. Silva. Or, drag the priest out of his protected fortress so Brick could kill him (with some graphic suggestions of how that might go.) Or, they could kill him themselves. When all this was over, one way or another, Brick was determined to kill the priest before he could become a Power in the city.
Brick tossed them a file that the hero cop Bowman had compiled on the situation, before his untimely demise. Fr. Silva was working with a trigger man named Markos Drake, and they are connected to a Mexican cult. He also told them he bugged the cabana (but not the bathroom) so if they needed him, he’d know, as he would be monitoring the audio feed. Then he left. The light flickered back on.
They didn’t feel entirely illuminated.