Aces and Eights

Bryan tries to meet with Fix, the Summer Knight. He manages to track him down to a Double Tree inside the loop. Fix refuses to talk to him even though Bryan tries several times to contact him. Bryan finally gives up and returns to his car, only to be ambushed by a woman with a knife. She slams his head into a light pole and draws the edge of her knife against his neck. She tells him to leave this city if he values his life, but the rest of her threat is moot by the arrival of Bryan’s car.

Bryan’s car comes flying across the air, in a most un-car-like manner, and would have hit the woman if she did not jump out of the way. The same troll that protected him before comes bellowing across the parking lot wielding a concrete divider. The woman readies to defend herself, but is stopped by the soundĀ of Fix’s shotgun, which is point-blank at the back of her head. The woman, Bryan, and the troll all stop immediately.

The woman stares at Bryan, while trading insults with Fix. She tells Bryan before she leaves that he has 1 hour to leave the city if he values his life. Fixes gets on his motorcycle and tells Bryan he should heed her advice, before he leaves as well. The troll just looks at Bryan and shrugs his shoulders. With his car destroyed he calls a cab and leaves to join Joseph, who has secured Alicia.

Meanwhile Lucas and Joseph find a place to hide Alicia, which Lucas protects with a ward. Interesting enough, at least to Lucas, Jack is stopped by the ward. Lucas allows Jack through his defenses. The three of them question Alicia, who is guarded but eventually talks. She says that each of them are Winter Changelings, but have been told by Winter not to choose just yet. They were never told why, only that choosing before they were told would result in their death. The word from Winter would always come round-about through a White Court Vampire named Marcia Brooks. She works at a gentlemen’s club called Aces & Eights.

Sign Up and Save the World

Before the first rays of dawn approach a familiar pickup truck pulls up in front of the abandoned row-house where everyone is holed up. In the back of the truck is the woman with the anti-tank rifle and the troll that save Bryan. In the cab is the man and woman that were taking pictures of them in the restaurant. They tell Bryan that they are from Heilsing and that they want to recruit him.

Heilsing is a para-military force based in Britain that specializes in destroying the supernatural that prey upon humanity. They tell him that his father was a high-ranking member and left instructions to recruit his son if anything should happen to him. When Bryan finds out that the organization is beholden to the British crown he refuses their offer; however, Jack is more than willing to sign up. Jack becomes an independent contractor who will be paid quite well when he is needed on a job. With that settled the representative of Heilsing and the Midnighter’s Club exchange information.

The dark presence that is coming to Philadelphia is an demonic vampire – an Outsider of almost unimaginable power. Heilsing knows little else about the creature, only that it is linked to the Black Court Vampires – like some patron or blood relative. The Club decides to select the ground to defend themselves from the dark hunters that have been killing the Changelings. They choose a small forested island upon which sits one of the bay navigational lighthouses. The lighthouses are all automated, so there will be no bystanders for this fight.

Lighthouse

They rent a boat and travel to the island, which also has a burned out cabin and a large maintenance shed. They hide Alicia inside the maintenance shed, which Lucas hides with a veil. As midnight approaches everyone is in position and awaiting the inevitable. The battle opens by Fix wreathed in Phoenix flames flying across the bay being pursued by two spinning balls of water and a zodiac inflatable boat. The first shot is taken by the strange Heilsing girl from a bridge nearly half a mile away, which bounces off the orbs chasing Fix.

As the balls reach the beach they dissolve revealing the Huntress and a large bull-necked man. Lucas, Bryan, and Jack pin the Huntress down on the beach, while Joseph stalks the man in his coyote form. The Huntress manages to dodge their attacks long enough for the zodiac to reach the shore and several hired mercenaries to storm the beach. While that is going on Joseph taunts the man into following him and keeps him from leaving the woods and helping the Huntress.

The Huntress dances around the beach, neither fully attacking nor allowing herself to be trapped; although the same could not be said about the mercenaries, who have been driven off the beach and into hiding. Lucas charges the beach to drive the Huntress back, but instead gets shot by one of the mercenaries. Joseph has stopped the man from squashing him, but he cannot seem to drag him to the ground either.

Just as the battle seems to be turning against the them, a large twisting windstorm envelopes the island, blinding everyone. When the winds die down the Dola is on the island and commands everyone to stop. Surprising enough everyone listens and stops fighting. She tells them that an outsider has noticed their battle and is coming to the island. She tells the Huntress to take her team and leave or else she will have to face her as well. The Huntress bows respectively to the Dola and issues the necessary commands.

Everyone else, except the Dola, gets into the boat and heads back inland as dark storm clouds roll in from the east. Black lightning crashes down from the heavens and hammers the small island, illuminating a small greenish ball where the Dola stands. That is the last sight they have of the battle as a dense fog envelops the island.

The Huntress and her group survived, but the Changelings are safe.

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