Leo wakes up in some back alley and staggers to Lucas’ apartment where he falls asleep on the stairs. Unfortunately this confrontation has been brewing and when Leo admits to stealing some of Lucas’ hair as a bargaining chip it comes to blows. Leo, the more experienced fighter, takes out Lucas before his neighbors notice and drags him inside the apartment. He takes another cutting from his hair and uses that to defend himself when Lucas finally wakes up. After realizing his situation they come to a very uneasy truce. They need the help of Gilgamesh and without a bargaining chip they have nothing. Lucas agrees to a trade, his hair for a gift of value. Leo leaves the apartment with a mummified monkey’s paw that was in his family trunk.
Viola runs down a few of her contacts, eventually discovering that a small company called Patriot Limousines owns the black SUVs that were seen outside of Waterford Properties. She leaves Hack a voicemail with the information because he does not pick up. The reason is that Hack is currently working his way through the storm drains near the Inner Harbor. He is running down a lead that could grant him an audience with God-King Gilgamesh. Unfortunately for him he stumbles across a Red Court vampire feeding. It is a dizzying chase through the drains and while Hack manages to barely escape he finds himself completely lost and his phone dropped somewhere along the way.
After waiting for Hack to return her call, Viola goes to the office of Patriot Limousines. It is a small office among a string of road-facing office fronts. It is owned by Walter Caruso, a former soldier who mustered out after losing a leg in combat. Viola takes the straight forward approach of using her PI credentials to run down a lead on a missing client. Her previous information says that Lawrence Usher is the primary investor in the business, but Walter claims to have not know such a person and says that the company is fully owned by himself. Other that that lie, he seems pretty open with Viola and promises to help her in any legal way that he can – as some clients request confidentially in regards to his business.
House Lagios has tendrils
Lucas and Leo are already waiting at Federal Park when Viola arrives. Lucas was the first one contacted; although it took a runner to his apartment to reach him. They have located an entrance into the storm drains that seems to see regular use. Viola veils them as they descend into the darkness. Several days of light snow makes the ladder slick, but means the water in the drains is lower than usual. As the make their way through the drains they come across a ghoul holding Hack’s phone – it is sniffing it and appears to be tracking him. They follow the creature to large catch basin where several pipes drain. Before the ghoul can attack Hack, who is climbing up a ladder, Viola drops her veil and gets the creature’s attention. The ghoul is clearly outmatched and is forced to flee.
After he is settled down, Hack leads them back to the body he found the Reds feeding on. The victim has no personal identification, but he does sport both a military and prison tattoo. His arms and feet show signs of both old and new heroin use. In his pocket they do find a small notepad with a piece of paper indicating the date and probably time that Camille and Darmoria arrived at Waterford Properties. Walter, of Patriot Limousines, indicated to Viola that they occasionally hire employees under Maryland’s Department of Corrections “Second Chance” program. Only non-violent offenders that receive a clean bill from the prison board. It is very likely this man was one of the drivers dispatched by Patriot with the SUVs he provided. House Lagios would find fertile soil in the prison system among drug users, so its not surprising Walter would hire such a man.
They carry the body up to a nearby alley and Viola calls the police to report it. She waits while the officers and forensic unit arrives. Eventually the corner arrives and takes the body away. Viola gets her name into the record as a PI who has been working a missing person’s case and this could be the man she needed to find. The officer tells her to come by in the morning with her paperwork and she could probably get more information.
The next morning Hack and Viola follow up some leads on Betadox Service Industries (BSI). BSI is a small waste disposal company specializing in medical and chemical waste. BSI also holds a smaller company called Cervant Holdings that is heavily invested in cleaning up brownfield locations (abandoned industrial locations). Alexandra Lagios is one of the largest financial backers of Cervant and sits on the board of BSI. A quick stop to the police station uncovers that the body they found was Charlie Winthorne, an ex-convict who was paroled last year. His current employer is listed as Patriot Limousines, who have already been contacted. Viola thanks the officer, but says that was not the name she was hoping for but that she appreciates the help.
On the way back into the city Viola is involved in a minor fender bender. At first it seems pretty innocuous and her car is functional, but after a few blocks a small explosive device bounces from under her seat. Just barely has time to jump out of the car before it bursts into flames. An ambulance shows up to take her to the burn center at Mercy Medical Center. Instead of a hospital she finds herself wheeled into building and into a freight elevator. She pretends to be unconscious in order to learn their plans, but before she can act she finds herself trapped in a circle inside of a makeup room.
Lucas gets in contact with Mr. Jacobs who agrees to meet with him at Neutral Grounds. Although he does not like working with the White Council, he can offer some information and advice. A local sorcerer Russel Carson has a small coven/harem of “witches” around him. He mostly collects the idle and beautiful who are attracted to his demeanor and wealth. He has been putting out feelers about a house on the north side of town strongly haunted by ghosts and other spirits. Lucas recognizes it as Hack’s house so it is very probably that this sorcerer was involved in the attack and possible theft. Before he leaves, Mr. Jacobs warns Lucas not to be wary about Gilgamesh. He has some powerful backers and the rumors that he has been warring with the Summer Court are true. Getting mixed up in that situation could prove fatal as both sides want full control over the ley line that runs through the Inner Harbor.
Leo takes the monkey paw and enters the storm drains looking for Gilgamesh. He claims to be an emissary from the Winter Court seeking an audience. In addition to a few ghouls there are three red court vampires and a pair of humans. The man is Hispanic and has a large gun holsters at his back, while the woman is covered in tattoos and piercings. Leo’s offered gift is warmly received and Gilgamesh agrees to listen to him. Leo says that Camille has been prepared to take up the mantle of Witch of the North and help Gilgamesh in his battle with the Summer Court; however, she is being held against her will. Gilgamesh, who would benefit by the arrival of the Witch of the North in his territory, tells Leo that Camille is within his territory but is currently being shielded. She is somewhere to the northwest. To further strengthen their agreement, Leo agrees to a favor to be called in later in exchange for the assistance of a pair of trolls during his stay in Baltimore.
The Final Act
With time running out on Kirovak’s patience everyone meets at the Washington Monument where the ley lines are drawn up and proceeds to follow it southeast. Its a slow process as Leo and Lucas are constantly forced to stop and reorient themselves along the line. Eventually they find themselves in front of the Everyman Theater, which is being refurbished. A large sign thanking its corporate sponsors has BSI listed. The only vehicle inside is a black SUV with Cervant Trucking logo on the side. Hack parks his cab a couple of blocks away while Lucas slips inside and hexes the security cameras into junk. Leo shatters the lock on a side door and everyone slips inside.
The inside of the Theater is clearly be redone as well as construction equipment and scaffolding are shoved up against the walls. Lucas feels the tug of something familiar pulling him down into the basement, so everyone follows cautiously behind. The air begins to get stale and cold as they pass through the basement and then into the maintenance hallways below the theater. Evidence of construction is everywhere as they hear a woman’s horse scream. Lucas runs forward into a room unlike any other. A small microwave stand with many surgical implements neatly laid out, whips and chains line the walls, and heaps of plastic tarps are piled up in the corner – the smell of blood and urine is heavy in the air. A heavy curtain divides the room, but Lucas is far too struck by what he sees and hears to pull it aside. Hack steps forward and draws it open.
Inside of the makeup room Viola plots to escape the circle. She tries several times to find a flaw in it, but she cannot force herself out of inside. However, she can with great effect throw something outside. She uses this trick to knock a small chunk of mirror from a makeup stand into the circle. Its not much, but its enough for her to slip into the Nevernever through. Once in the Nevernever she realizes why it was so easy to escape as The Fetch is waiting for her. In a large flat area with an untold number of mirrors The Fetch battles Viola. It taunts and bests on her – trying to force Viola to abandon her human heritage and become a true fetch. Viola spits in the fae’s eye and shouts that only she will determine her destiny. In his anger The Fetch throws her through one of the nearby mirrors.
Viola’s vision is blinded by nearby lights, but the smell of unbridled fear hangs in the air. So strong that its impossible to ignore and her fetch nature rises up stronger that ever. A woman’s incoherent screams echo in her ears and she feasts upon its pleasurable taste. The sound of metal scraping and a more guttural noise brings her head about. She sees Hack holding a heavy curtain with Lucas and Leo standing behind him. She is confused by the look of incensed anger on Lucas’ face, but the clarity of the woman’s scream behind her draws her head back around. Strapped to a steel chair is Camille, who clearly has been tortured for weeks, who screams,
“Don’t let her touch me again!”
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