The Blake Chronicles

Our story thus far
A recap
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Chicago, 1926

I’ve been looking through my father’s journals recently and came across a passage here about a relatively large group of people who fought the supernatural in Chicago in the 1920’s. Before finding this I was sure that the famous, or should I say infamous, Harry Dresden was the only one to have been somewhat publicly battling the supernatural in Chicago any time in the last century.

I should have known better. With how much of a battlefield that Chicago has been in recent times, it’s obvious that these rivalries didn’t start overnight.

The entry begins with some rumors about rumors about Al Capone seeking power by “any means necessary”. The strange thing is, that when it all started, my father hadn’t even met this strange group of individuals. That actually came later, and their story doesn’t begin with a face off against Al Capone.

They were certainly a rag-tag group: an honest beat cop in Chicago; a human reporter with a faerie girlfriend; a fallen angel with a mortal soul; a changeling with a Fetch, of all things, as a father; and a Kitsune.

The action started with a bang, or at least a couple of them. The heroes found themselves chasing after a car full of hoods, and a trunk full of innocent victim in the form of a virgin woman.

They used a modicum of team work, and some quick thinking, to slow down the car they were pursuing and get them to pull over.

But the story didn’t begin here. Knighton, our reporter, had been tasked by Ripley, the famous Ripley of Believe it or Not fame, to find out what was going on with the disappearances of some women around the city. This lead him to the Accorded Neutral Ground, where strangest of all a man named McAnally runs bar, or is that speakeasy, in 1926.

Something has the Red Court up in arms as they are even willing to try breaking the Unseelie accords by hunting in McAnally’s. Benny, the Fallen-Angel heads off the vamp, and the misfits gather for the first time.

After Knighton makes a fabled blow to Henry’s head, which the Son of a Fetch barely felt, the group decide to get some sleep and go at this fresh the next day.

After a night’s sleep, the group went their separate ways, or more specifically Kris went to his cousin’s (Andreas Ostrowski’s) precinct and looked into the disappearances. Andreas was made the head of a special task force for the disappearances by the Chief, Luigi Amario.

While Kris was doing this, the rest of the group followed up leads on two of the missing girls. They found some hair at the first girl’s house, but Henry got arrested at the second girl’s house by pretending that he was a ventriloquist and taking the heat for Kyle’s trickery. Henry brought Kyle with him as a stole around his neck.

While Henry was in jail, a panicked Andreas contacted Kris asking him to meet at Wrigley Field. Benny and Kyle went with him as backup. They found Andreas dead by some strange attack.

Kris called the precinct that Andreas was in and they helped to get the body to the morgue where Kris met the ebullient John Johnson. The coroner found a note in Andreas’ pocket that led the group to the dock where they found evidence of the missing girls. They set up a Veil to get them onto the ship. Kyle forgot completely that water cancels out magic, and they became visible as they crossed from the stone pier.

After a brief battle with the individuals on the ship, a car chase ensued, bringing us back to the beginning.

Knighten let the girl, Karen Masters, out of the trunk and calmed her. Meanwhile the other four members of the team took on the task of interrogating the mobsters. They made sure that Krys saw nothing, but there was some threat of force used to get the information.

Krys and Knighten went to the police station, escorting Karen. Knighten calmed Karen again and helped her to give her statement. When done he tried to get Krys to head out with him to the address they’d gotten from the mobsters. Krys declined vociferously, scaring Knighten out of the precinct.

The other three; Henry, Benny and Kyle; went to the address they’d acquired. After Henry smashed the door to the basement, the location they’d determined was the most likely to house an evil sorcerer. Once down there they realized that their suspicions were correct.

Unfortunately for the team, Kyle was targeted and immediately fell into a stupor, surrounded by his true memories. He remembered for the first time that he was actually half-human. He was a changeling much like Henry.

What followed was a stumble through the dark as Benny, overconfident in ignorance, sent Knighten to take Kyle out of the line of fire. Benny and Henry did their best, but without magic to aid them, even the Scotsman’s strength was not enough to overcome the barrier that the Sorcerer had erected.

Krys arrived, late but not never, and rushed Knighten down the stairs. Once his magic was brought to bear, and using Henry’s power of fear, they were able to bring down the sorcerer.

Unfortunately my grandfather chose this moment to arrive. I’ll admit that he handled the situation poorly, as he was acting in his office as Grey Warden. He slew the sorcerer before any information could be gained. Benny took an immediate dislike to him.

Benny took the offered opportunity to relive the sorcerer’s last twenty-four hours. His strength of will kept him uncorrupted and he collected a phone number. A number where a compatriot of the sorcerer could be found.

Knighten did his best to heal the damaged mind of the kitsune. Kyle awoke a much different person that before the attack. He remembers both his past as a human, and his past as a kitsune.

Henry took the time to look up his band. They were playing at the Red and Blues club. Henry and Knighten worked their way into the back room and spoke to the manager. Henry, with Knighten’s help, convinced Seamus that he deserved a chance to challenge for a place in the band.

They sabotaged the other player’s music using magic. Henry won, but not without difficulty. The other musician had been very good with the power of a demon flowing through him. They’d made a pact with a demon in order to improve their fame and talent. Henry took offense at this as they were sacrificing people to the demon to keep themselves in their fame.

Henry took this information back to Benny. Realizing that they needed a place to research information on the supernatural, and feeling his memories from his past life as an angel fading, the group contributed all the knowledge they had about the supernatural entities in the town. Benny could feel the knowledge fading from him even as he wrote it down feverishly onto paper.

When he was done, he researched the information that he’d recorded about the demons. They began to prepare when there was a knock at the door to the chapel. A strange latin man came through the door. He introduced himself as Silas. They’d just begun dealing with a Grey Warden and here was a person who seemed to skirt the lines of magic. He was a necromancer, something many consider to be the darkest of dark arts.

True, he never raised anything with intelligence, but Wardens rarely give passes where lawbreakers are concerned. There was something even more sinister about the wizard: he was a time traveler.

They quickly dispatched the demon, their preparation telling on the unholy beast, and killed Seamus. Silas used his power to open a portal to the nevernever where they deposited the corpse.

Benny and Kyle took this opportunity to go seeking the boy who helped the sorcerer. They missed him after being caught in the midst of a raid by the FBI on the deli across the street. The boy had called it in to escape.

Krys becomes a member of the FBI. Eliot Ness tells him that there are too many strange cases going around these days, and tells him that the FBI needs Krys’ services. Krys will be filing his cases under the letter X. Eliot smiles at this. He is an occasional fan of Science Fiction. The X moniker seems to appeal to him for some reason.

Henry receives a strange trunk filled with treasures, including some strange gold coins and a sable cloak.

After the mess with the boy and the demon, after becoming an FBI agent, Krys and Knighten go on a double date with a couple of nice Polish girls. It goes poorly.

I almost failed to mention that Krys gets the first bits of forensic evidence, of course they plan on a wizard using it to shortcut the search of the monsters who killed the people in the morgue.

They track the ghouls and see themselves outnumbered in their lair. They prepare for the ghouls, and go to meet them in the park that John Johnson states that the body parts came from.

They arrive and begin their local preparations to take out the ghouls. Silas spends time to create a spell that will remove the Ghouls’ natural resistances. The rest simply prepare to gain him time. A dwarf on a small cart piled with bodies appears out of a rift in the air. He has just come from the nevernever and he is making some sort of deal with the ghouls. Could he be creating an army of the foul creatures under Chicago?

They attack, but the dwarf gets away. Knighten, frustrated at his inability to stop the diminutive creature, slams a huge chuck of earth into the Ghouls, smashing them into a fine paste. Henry was on the verge of giving himself over to the fetch inside. The darkness is beginning to try to take him over.

The team regrouped after the battle. They decided to go to the Summer court and seek help. Henry was rebuffed and turned back. Henry was the most affected as he gave up the fetch. Almost as if his Uncle Phillip had seen the future, as if his death was ordained to protect his Nephew, Henry took upon himself a new cloak with mysterious powers.

They took the bodies to Knighten’s garage and turned them into Ghoul Suits. They were going to infiltrate the Ghoul lair. They searched the sewers, and eventually made it there. Henry took the form of the big ghoul, and confusion ensued.

The ghouls soon realized that the team wasn’t fighting. The illusion fell apart and a battle ensued. The party was quickly overwhelmed and began to run. Silas finally recovered from his shock and opened a way into the Never Never and a place where there were dragons.

The dragons quickly destroyed the ghouls and turned toward the rest of the team. More and more dragons entered through the rift. They burned Chicago to the ground and formed a new nest. From there they covered the face of the earth, nothing able to stop them.

Wait…what!?

The next entry was even more confusing. Each of the members of the team seemed to agree that they dreamed of a wizard named Silas. This Silas assisted them for a time, but then destroyed the world. Silas was never really a member of the group.

The team, however, used this prophetic dream to easily overcome many of the difficulties that they had gone through. Kris did his best to keep people to history as he remembered it from the dream, but other members of the group were not as influenced. Henry immediately dropped being a Fetch and took up the cloak of Merlin.

They did face off against a child, or a seeming child, who used magical toys to attack the team. They chased the child off, eventually, but one individual almost took them all out. This would be a major foe in the future.

Something had changed. Something significant. Dr. Johnson invited them to a party because he felt someone was going to die. The team snuck in as wait staff, well all but Knighten who went in as an invitee.

Renato, who was throwing the party, was a bit of a jerk to the party, but he had a sense of humor, one that Kris did not really agree with. Even with an offer of alchohol, it did nothing to assuage our honest cop. The cop began to realize that he was not going to get along with this sixth member of the team.

Renato was not just the rich man he appeared. Renato apparently was a man who had been living for thousands of years. Beyond that he was human.

They stopped a couple of corrupt cops from taking Renato into custody and used the teams own rum run to bring the FBI into the mix. Kris had the case declared an X-File and closed it.

Rose, Renato’s wife, made Coffee. This wasn’t coffee, it was the Coffee that other coffees aspire to even hope to be.

Kris was told he would have to head to New York.

They realized that the murder, the cops, and everything at the party that went wrong were tied to Lorenzo, the leader of the red court in Chicago. The team was going to go against him next, something that would greatly divert from ‘history’ as they knew it. They still had time before they met the ghouls last time.

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Party for the Century: Part 3
Dressed in Red

I dropped Krzysztof and Henry at the Christian Reform Church on the East side of Garfield Park to meet up with Benny. I helped unload the wine barrels with “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” labels. Well, actually I just stood there with open hands while Henry somehow managed to balance all five in his arms. I tried to help; but he brushed me aside with his shoulder and yelled back:

“Lad, let boys handle the mornin’ papers; the men will handled the spirits!”

To think, a mere hour ago the guy was half asleep in the back seat. Yet, once there is an ounce of alcohol in the vicinity the Scotsman is doing the work of five men. Krzysztof stood there also in amazement to Henry’s increased feat of strength, clearly not offended by the snide remark since it was of course directed at me.

Once the barrels were unloaded, I left the trio. A slight question crossed my mind where Kyle was. But, I figured I didn’t want to know since it ALWAYS meant trouble for me. So I left it at that.

I headed back to my flat. It was a long and early morning. I needed some rest.

I awoke around noon. Boy, was my back killing me! My bed had not been comfortable. It felt like a ram-rod had been shoved up my back. You know, one of those silly rods that servants would wear in last century to keep them up proper. Yeah, it was good that they stopped using those decades ago…because they must have been excuciating.

I started cleaning up the mess that I had left the other day. I started with mopping the entry where Henry had tracked in mud. I knelt down to sweep up some of the dried areas. I heard a giggle coming from behind me. I quickly turned around to scowl at CG. She was on the top of the icebox. In seeing me turn she quickly darted inside the Kellog’s Toasted Corn Flakes box. The box tipped over not only spilling out its contents, but knocking over the bag of Dolly Dimples flour. The flour flowed over the top of the icebox down on to the kitchen floor. Great! That little faerie sometimes seemed more nuisance than good.

I saw little footprints forming in a path cutting through the blanket of spilt flour. Apparently, she was unaware that I was still tracking her movements even with her Glamour of Invisibilty. I could really be angry at her. Her naivety was far too welcomed to shun her for too long. My temper quickly vanished. I thought how ironic this pixie was. She knew so much about magic and faerie lore, yet was so oblivious to the more mundane. I brought the broom to the kitchen and hurriedly swept up the flour and cereal mixture.

By the time I was done cleaning, I knew I had about an hour before Carlton would arrive with Father’s car. I quickly showered and shaved. I got my tuxedo from the closet. A trail of tiny white flour footprints led from the cuff to the inner-coat pocket.

“CG, you can’t come. Remember you said yourself that I will have trouble enough crossing the Threshold alone. If you were inside my jacket we would for sure be barred from entry.” I reached my hand into the pocket and pulled out an invisible fury pinched between my fingers.

“Put me down! If only you knew who you were dealing with Knighten Foraine!”

“And who, pray tell, would that be, CG?”

“I—I am…ARGH!! Knighten, let me go!” I almost got her to tell me more of her past. She was so close. I conceded defeat and let the pixie go. She fell a few inches in mid-air before regaining control of the flight in her wings. She flitted away angrily. I thought maybe I had gone too far. Knighten, how could you be so insensative?

Carlton’s horn sounded outside. I quickly slipped into my tux. I threw on my socks and dress shoes. Fortunately, I had polished them the night before. I hurriedly threaded my belt. I grabbed my untied bowtie and threw it over my shoulder as I ran out the door down the steps to the front door of the townhouse. As I was about to step out, I remembered that I did not have my ticket. I raced back upstairs and grabbed the envelope where I had left it.

I flew down the stairs and shut the front door behind me. I locked up and glided down the front steps with the envelope in my lips now, while my hands were freed to begin tying my tie. Carlton was holding the back-passenger door open to Father’s car. The engine was still running.

“The bat flies around the tree… and says ‘hi’ to the swallow… bends his wing… and flies into the hollow….” I muttered under my breath as I approached the car. I obviously wasn’t getting the tie correctly. “Or is it ‘into the hollow…say ’hi’ to the swallow’?”

“Allow me, Master Knighten.” I allowed Carlton to correct my knotted mess.

Carlton had been with my family for a long time. He worked along side my father in the stockyards before the turn of the century, back when they were young. The two sort of parted ways, but always stayed in touch. My father moved on into the buddying car industry. He saved enough money working on the car line to pay for college. My father always had big dreams. He graduated top of his class in Harvard Business School. He returned back to Chicago to start his own business in the car industry. He could see that the turmoil happening in Europe before the turn of the century was going to create a huge demand for car engines and parts. When the War began, my father was selected as an officer due to his college degree. It was there that he met up with Carlton again. Carlton was serving under my father’s command as a corporal. The War really bonded them. My father said that Carlton even saved his life. This incident left Carlton mildly crippled in his right leg. For as long as I have known him he has had a limp that he tries to keep subtle. After the War, my father learned that Carlton had fallen on bad times. He had lost his job at the stockyards due to his disability, and his unfaithful wife had run off with his life savings. My father took him in without question and gave him this job. He is like part of the family, now.

“There you go, Master Knighten. Quickly, your father will be waiting.”

I jumped into the back seat. Carlton shut the door, then dignifiedly limped around the back of the car to the driver’s side. He tipped his hat as he looked at me through the rearview mirror.

“We ready, sir?”

“Drive on, Carlton.” That sounded so much like my father. I saw Carlton smile in the mirror. Apparently, he thought the same thing. Carlton always saw me as more than I thought I could be. When I was younger, whenever I was feeling frustrated or angry with Father being distant at times, it was Carlton who would act as the mediator between Father and me. He helped me understand Father better. He helped me find great respect for Father. I was always impressed with their experiences in the War. They were true men and gentlemen in my eyes. When I felt at times like I let my father down, Carlton helped me to understand how much Father loved and cared about me.

More to come…

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Lorenzo
Notes on Red Court
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Notes for internal group knowledge only- Knighten, this is not to be published!

Lorenzo is the leader of the Red Court Vampires. He showed up with no past, and no history, 9 years ago, and started throwing lavish parties. While these parties are going, Lorenzo is not there! This is because he is supervising conversions of others into Red Court Vampires, and having feedings! This occurs in his basement. He is very powerful- the corrupt cops said that the last failure was literally torn apart by his bare hands.

Humans drink the red court blood to become infected. This causes a thirst for human blood. The thirst becomes stronger when the victim/drinker uses the powers given by the blood- extra strength and recovery. This is true even if the power is used for good! Also, the Red Court Vampire has addictive saliva, which is like a drug. They mix this in liquids, and create addicts that need it again and again. It gives the vampire hypnotic control over the victim. The vampires have claws that can rend a human easily.

Weaknesses- Sunlight, holy items, and they have no armor on their belly.

Good luck guys! I will miss you!
Krzysztof Krystkowiak

Picture from the amazing Genzoman.

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New York, New York
Fairwell To The Windy City
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How do you say good-bye to the only city you have ever known? How do you say farewell to your life? Departure from a neighborhood that holds all of your memories physically may be possible, but can you move on? Retreat from the sadness, but hold on to the joy? One is part of the other, so the exit is not smooth. I feel that I am abandoning all that I am, not just all that I know. Mama will kill me- maybe that is how my desertion will be prevented.

I was waiting outside the Alfieri manse when the cops arrived. In the meantime I had decided against all that I had set in motion. Renato Alfieri was similar to me on a number of levels- and of all the ones to help me see this it was Kyle that made the most sense. I care not for Renato’s skill with a sword- I cared if he was aligned with the mob. Now that I am convinced he is not, I am more than willing to have him join us- well, join them- maybe I can get one more cup of that coffee before I go….

Turns out, from what Benny told me, that Renato is really good with a sword. He has quite a collection of war memorabilia, but seems to prefer a samurai blade of some antiquity. He put on quite a show slicing a group of apples in half- Benny just shot some holes in a few, and the wall. So, I forgive the guy, with the groups’ help, and go to call off the dogs. Who should show up but two corrupt cops, Lenny & Joey, from the Italian precinct- Yep, bought off, no surprise. Not bought by Moretti, like I figured. Seems that they are bought off by Lorenzo. Joey even tried to shoot me when I tried to stop them from taking Renato! Bad move when in that close- I used my redirected force moves to put him on his behind. Kyle was growling at Joey, in fox mode- I had never seen him so upset. Going to miss that Katsune. Meanwhile, Renato’s wife had made the most intoxicating coffee ever! Knighten, Benny, Henry, and Renato, after some major intimidation (Joey soiled his pants- that is intimidation), convinced the cops to tell us about the mysterious Lorenzo over coffee. That coffee was better than the 40 year old Glenfiddich I had at Knighten’s!! Literally coffee to die for! I say again, Renato is a lucky man to have married that woman!!

So, Lorenzo is a guy that has been throwing legendary parties- they are huge, opulent affairs, but the host is never there. We now know why- he is the leader of the Red Court vampires, and has feedings in his basement while the party noise masks the deaths!!

More on Lorenzo in my notes for the group- I have to get them all to Dr. Johnson, and over to my house in the am to meet Bruce- the only cop I fully trust. Will give us all one last breakfast with Mama Lumita as well- Benny will love that.

Krzysztof Krystkowiak

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Seein' Red
Pride, Nasty Pride
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I saw only one name on the list of 100, and it filled me with rage- Moretti. The family responsible for my father’s death.

Perhaps I should recap a bit. We procured a way into the party, or so I thought. Knighten, Henry, Benny, and I had come up with a plan, and Henry had executed it- except for one small issue. We were inside the Alfieri’s home, invited in, as had been the plan, for the “Party of the Century.” One big problem- we were over 5 hours early. Henry! Knighten had bailed, of course, as he had an invitation. So the 3 of us dropped off the casks of “olive oil” off and now had to find a way to stay. Henry, adding insult to injury, tracks mud all over the floors! So, another plan is unraveling, thanks to the Scotsman, but we do get hired on as servers. Servants is more the word, and I could hear the “Master of the House” chuckle at our treatment. This guy Alfieri is done now- he insulted not me, but my two close friends, Benny and Henry. Now I am looking for revenge- and sure enough, it is served during the party.

With a dead body in a room that had previously been locked, it looked like our “host” was a suspect to say the least. I had Benny, Knighten, and Henry with me, and got all the rest out of the room- including Mr. Smug. Dr. Johnson was making no sense when he entered- no surprise, since we were here to make sure that this death did not happen. I took control, and decided to show Mr. Alfieri what embarrassment feels like. I had Henry get the list of guests, and had it copied the second I saw that Moretti name on it. This guy is in league with the mob, and I will make sure I use him to get them!

Kyle found the murderer, and Benny killed him, making it all appear as a murder mystery film. Henry and Benny really hammed it up- unfortunately while doing so, Renato Alfieri took the list back!

Now I am truly upset! He is the one that allowed a Red Court Vampire into his party, aligned with the Moretti family!! It is not like he snuck in- he was an invited guest, on the list!! He would not give the list back, so I took Knighten’s car (with permission- he really is a good guy) and found Mr. Ness.

We will see what Mr. Alfieri says with a warrant in his face. Did Pride get the best of me? Yes. Is there one less vampire? Yes. Do I need to see Alfieri go down, or at least understand where his connection is? Yes. I will even work with him- but I want REVENGE!

Krzysztof Krystkowiak

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Party for the Century: Part Two
Rum Run

Well, it seemed that I wasn’t the only one excited about going to the Alfieri’s party. When Henry and I met our crew at Doc Johnson’s lab just past 1:30 pm, they were buzzing about how crucial it was for us to prevent a death that was likely to take place at the Alfieri’s the night of the party.

I am not much for saving the day alone, especially up against apparent supernatural nasties. Yet, I was the only one with a ticket. Heck, without the rest of the crew, it might be ME that ends of dead. After all, if my visions serve correct, before Silas was expelled from our timeline, I was not attending this party. Instead, I was with the guys bowling…with giant boulders and fleshy, ghouls for pins. I couldn’t go alone.

“Knighten, can’t your dad just scrounge up some more tickets?” Henry asked.

“First of all, Henry, my father does not ‘scrounge up’ anything. Secondly, like I said before on the way over. The Alfieri’s are way above our social class. If Chicago had royalty, they would be one of only a handful of contenders for the Crown. You could say they are like the Duke of Winnetka. Which is something, since Winnetka houses some of the most wealthy and powerful people in all of Illinois. So, Father, even with all of his contacts in the car industry still has never met the Alfieri’s before. This is a big deal for us.”

“Well, there must be a way in. There’s a possible innocent life that we could save. I ain’t backing down.” Benny beamed devoutly.

“Hey! What about the liquor stores? This party must have some supplier for alcohol. Krzysztof, what are the chances you can round up some liquor from a previous rum raid?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Knighten. ARE YOU CRAZY! Go into Ness’s back room…nick the evidence key… and waltz right out the front door with several gallons of illegal contraband? What part of that plan did you think that I would go along with? I just got this job. I am not carrying out one of your stupid ideas just to jeopardize my career. No offense, Knighten, but Mama would storm right up to the Alfieri Mansion, tear down the door with or with out a ticket and KILL ME, if she found out I did something like that. If I even consider a plan like that, I just might end up the guy you guys find dead on the Alfieri’s marble floor. No thank you! There has to be another way.”

“Sorry, Krzysztof. I would never want to do anything that would put you in a situation like that.”

“It’s all right. Forgetta ’bout it.”

“I got it! I could write up a quick article to publish in the afternoon edition. It would highlight a Scottish noble who recently has come to the States. Henry has those ancient looking coins in the chest his Uncle Philip inherited him. I hear that Renato Alfieri and his wife Rosa are HUGE collectors. I would write about these coins as a ploy to get Herr Alfieri’s attention. We could set up a meeting with the Alfieri’s. Henry could get us in. You up to it, Hank?”

“Yah, I once played King Leer in a play we put on at the Guardian Angel Asylum for Lost Boys when I was orphaned there. I wore the best looking crown. But those tights I wore were quite chaffey. I don’t have to wear any tights, do I?”
Henryas king leer
“Too much information, Henry!” Krzysztof interrupted. “Knighten, good thought, but no offense. Who is going to be reading the afternoon edition of the Ripley Register? If we had a week or two to prepare, maybe it would work. But, we got to get a way in there by tomorrow before noon.”

“You’re right, Krzysztof. What ideas do you got?”

“Urgh…” Krzysztof sighed, uneasy about what he was going to suggest next. "I might know a guy, who knows a guy, who JUST MIGHT owe a favor to another guy I know. I know it sounds hooky. But, this guy might know who is ALREADY delivering the liquor to this party. After all, it is only one more day to the party. Even the most backwards schnuck stuck on Polish-time would never wait until the last minute to order liquor a day before a much-talked-about party. And if this is everything Knighten says it’s going to be, then the Alfieri’s must have had this ‘special order’ requested months ago, with a few contingencies, just in case the Untouchables weren’t looking in the other direction.

“There is only one catch. Henry, I will need to borrow your specific “skill sets”. I can’t actually get mixed up in all this. It would be…well, a conflict of interest."

“First I am playing an encore performance of King Leer. Next, I am a bootlegger. What will you need me to do next?? Yah, sure. No problem. Same stipulation, though… NO TIGHTS!”

“You got it, Boss. Knighten, can you give us a ride down to the docks tomorrow morning? Say, 8 o’clock?”

“You bet!”

“Now everybody head on home. It is almost 3:00 am. We all needs some sleep for tomorrow. That 8 o’clock will be coming early.”

We all shuffled into the cold early morning darkness. I was a little concerned if this plan was going to work. I now understood why Krzysztof was a bit reluctant to suggest this idea. The only people that dealt in contraband alcohol were the mobs. The possibilities of what could go wrong swirled in my head like the after effects of a bad drink. Boy, I was glad of two things. First, tomorrow I was only going to be driving the car. And second, I already HAD my ticket.

“Oh wait! Everyone, before we all head home, CG said she has something important to talked to us about.”

“It will have to wait until the mid morning.” Krzysztof insisted.

“She said it had to happen tonight BEFORE we go to this party.”

“Urgh” Krzysztof sighed again. “Let’s make it quick.”

We all made a quick stop at my place in Lakeview. CG filled us all in about Thresholds and how they work. Just another wrench in the mix. With that we all said good night and returned to our homes.

The next morning I showed up with Henry at Krzysztof’s house right after I dropped of my tux to be cleaned. We stayed in the car with the heater on full blast. A glimmering coat of ice coated the streets and sidewalks. I gave a brisk honk with the horn. Krzysztof immediately came out. From the look on his face, it looked like he did not appreciate the honk. He cautiously made his way down the icy steps, analyzing each step with meticulous detail that only a fourth-generational cop could do. He hopped in the shotgun position. Henry was in the back seat still sleeping.

“Take a right on Ashland, then head towards the 90. You’ll need to go South once you are on the the Interstate.”

I followed Krzysztof’s directions to the docks. The warehouse was half boarded up. Many business in this commercial area were now out of business. It looks like the fingers of the mob had its influence here.
Warehouse
“Are you sure this is the place the guy said to go?”

“Like the back of my hand. Kid, you stay in the car. Keep it running…uh…so you don’t freeze.” He said it like he was keeping something from me. “Henry, wake up. We’re here.”

Henry got up from the seat. His face had the indentation of the seat texture across his brow. He couldn’t stop from looking like we was scowling, even if he tried.

“That’s perfect, Henry! Boy, you are good.” Krzysztof said excitedly.

“What?”

“Oh. Never mind. Follow me.”

They both went into the building. I kept the car running as Krzysztof said. Twenty minutes later, Krzysztof returned alone. Where was Henry? Krzysztof explained that Henry would be fine. He just needed some time to work his magic. No sooner had he explained what happened when a couple of rough dock workers came around the corner wheeling 5 large barrels marked “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. Henry followed close behind. A large business-man looking ruffian was walking next to him. He wore a huge smile on his face. Apparently, things went better than Krzysztof had hoped for.

“What a nice guy.” Henry said after the five barrels were loaded in my car and he was sitting in the back seat. “He was more than happy to let us take the responsibility off his hands. Apparently, he wasn’t even getting paid for this shipment. It sounded like it was a favor of favor kind of deal. He did seem kind of nervous when he talked about Renato Alfieri, though.”

Interesting. Who was this Alfieri to have a thug like that a bit skittish? From everything else Henry gathered, the mob pretty much stayed clear of Alfieri. They would jump when ever he called. This plan was sounding a little bit more dangerous as we began to learn more about Herr Alfieri. What if he was the one that was to do the killing? If he struck fear into the hearts of the entire mob families, what chance did we stand in countering his hidden plans of murder? What were we getting into? Was this all really a good idea? What if it was not going to be ONE murder, but a whole massacre? Maybe Dr. Johnson’s premonition was so strong regarding the future death, because it was in fact a full out massacre. Boy, what if at the end of the day we all end up dead on the Alfieri’s marble floor?

I looked over at Krzysztof. He looked back at me as if he was thinking the same thing I was.

I looked back at Henry from the rear view mirror. Henry was embracing a whole barrel, holding it close like it was his girl. I could see him “eying” it up and down like a pin up. Only hours before the party. I still needed to pick up my tux from Shondor’s Cleaners in Avondale. If I was going to die today, at least we wouldn’t have to pay the mortician to dress me in my best clothes.

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Dinner and a Murder
Death by Fang
about Buddy Blakemy home on the weblinks to my storiesthe characters in my lifeyour entrance to the behind the scenes stuff
A place for your feedback

It all started when Knighton got an invitation to a party. Apparently his family got invited by higher tier groups to play with the big leagues and Knighton and I were there. I was quiet when it all when down and Knighton even forgot to introduce me until the guests had all but left (This cloak might have something to do with that). Well with Knighton going to a shindig, I thought it was going to be a night off for the supernatural and boy was I wrong.

Someone brought it up with Dr. Johnson and he says that he had a vision of trouble (death) and so now we had to save the day. I am telling you just when you think you’re out, they reel you back in.

Well none of us had invitations and so we had to figure out how we were going to get in. Knighton had one but he got his through his dad so that was a no go. Then Kristoff comes up with a brilliant plan. This thing needs liquor and if we provide it then we could get in. He then pulls some strings and finds out where this luscious drink is going to be procured and with me as the mouth piece we are then set up as delivery men. Fantastic says I.

Well I should have known that it was not going to be that simple as just showing up. This 5 o’clock event needs the drinks earlier; a lot earlier, noon. Yea I said noon. When we came in to deliver the goods (we had to come in the ‘back way’ like its shameful to come in the front). We are met at the kitchen by a guy holding a knife (he was cutting onions). He told us where to put the goods and when we are asked how the bill is paid we say its on the house.

Now we needed to figure out how to stay and get inside for the rest of the day and as luck would have it three butlers failed to show; boom we are in. However for the next four to five hours we (Benny, Kristoff and I) get grilled on etiquette and posture and how to keep my dirty shoes cleaned. I have to say that this guy training us was worse then the sisters as the orphanage; scared me so bad that when we first met I swallowed my gum just so I wasn’t caught with it.

Well the even started off without a hitch and the expected guests arrived (including Knighton and family) and it seemed like nothing was going to happen. Even Kyle seemed to get in without a problem as a boy to stay in the kitchen. The weird thing was that there was to be exactly 100 guests and then the doors were closed on all the others. Judging from the cake in the kitchen, I would say that this was a birthday party. I am certain of it as there was four tiers and a bonfire of candles (I thought it was for a little old man or woman though I never saw one; found out later that it was for an immortal).

Like I said, this was a party until someone showed up dead. Kristoff quickly flashed his badge and someone announced that this was a murder mystery party and that all the guests were to stay in the house. The crowd was delighted and that seamed to avoid the possible panic, though I do not know why we would not admit the truth. The guests were moved to another room so they could question each other and find out ‘who did it’. Meanwhile we started to do some real investigating by searching the body and put the pieces together. This was one of the staff members and the body was hid under a table.

How we found it was through Kyle whose heightened senses picked up blood. Why they let the ‘boy’ out of the kitchen I will never know, I am just glad that they did. We wanted to see who was invited and who compare it to who was there. The lord of the manor was not pleased and almost refused to surrender the list but consented when we told him that it would be in his sight the whole time. How was I supposed to know that we were lying again? That list, once in our hands got scanned and partially copied and then did a disappearing act (back into the lord of the manors hands) all in a matter of minutes. Only one name I recognized and that was a prince of the Red Court; figured that this was our problem and the reason for the doctor’s vision.

It was our angel that confronted him in front of guest and killed him in one fowl swoop and then called it an act. Again these morons clapped and cheered for the display. Of course they didn’t know that their lives were in grave danger or the body we found was really dead. I am not sure that those in high society are inbred with morons or that they enjoy ignorance. Any way we were left wondering who invited this creature to the festivities and with only half a list, we really could not tell and the lord of the manor would not give us the full list as we had broken his trust.

Kristoff leaves the party somewhat deflated (I think) and heads back to the car. Without some real information the mystery of the vampire can not be solved. Kyle asked for some Scotch and head out to the car to make amends but failed when Kristoff found out where it was from. I think that this Ranaldi (I think his name) has really ticked the agent off; his wife is nice though (the birthday girl).

When it all ended the agent took the only ride and most of us had to find a new way home. Thank goodness Knighton had not left yet. I rejected the offer and walked home. I wanted to stew on the events that transpired. There are a lot of unanswered questions.

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Party for the Century: Part One
The Price of Opportunity

Henry and I were at my place recovering from the run-in with the d’Evil Child. When my father came in. I quickly stood up from exhausted slumped relaxing on the couch. I immediately looked around my apartment at the mess that hadn’t been attended to for several days due to all latest adventuring. A sickening feeling weighed heavily in my gut like a brick. I visually scanned the open rooms quickly to make sure that CG was not in sight. A mess was one thing, having my father see a faerie. His mind might just end like old Pompeii—-blown!

“Father?! Uh—-what brings you over, sir?”

Father didn’t look at me. Instead, he too was scanning the room as he talked to his son. He clearly recognized the mess. The feeling got a bit heavier. It was now like I had swallowed a wheel barrow full of bricks. “Our dinner appointment Saturday?”

-Knighten! How could you forget your dinner appointment with your parents?!- I thought to myself. But responded not showing my mental slip, “Yes, with you and Mother. I have not forgotten, Father.” Granddad would be turning over in his grave right now. The heaviness started feeling like I had downed a whole chimney of bricks. But wait! It was still Thursday, so I technically had not yet forgotten. It felt a little bit lighter, back to a wheel barrow full.

“Actually, Knighten we have been invited to the Alfieri’s Party this month, a birthday celebration. I expect you can make it? Here is your ticket.”

“The Alfieri’s Party? This is wonderful news, Father. Of course I can make it. I will have my tuxedo and tie pressed first thing in the morning. This is an incredible opportunity for you Father.”

The Alfieri’s were the top echelon of high-society in the Lake Region of Illinois in the 1920’s. Anybody who is ‘somebody’ gets an invitation to their monthly parties. Every month 100 invitations are sent out. These lucky ‘Centennials’, as they are called dine with the finest. Some few receive a repeat invitation and add a prefix to their elite moniker, such as “bi” or “tri” for those who have received 2 or 3 invitations in their lifetime, respectively. Only a handful of the elite carry the moniker of being a ‘Millennial’. These are the regulars at the Alfieri Estate, personal friends of Hr. Renato & Fr. Rosa Alfieri.

“Yes, Knighten, it WILL be an opportunity. In fact, it will be quite the opportunity for you as well. Col. Robert McCormick of the Tribune will be there. I hear that he has nearly won the circulation war over Hearst’s paper, the Examiner. It is with that audacity that you need to pursue life, Knighten.” It hit me hard. As I have stated before, Father has never approved of my association with the Ripley Register. I felt a whole brick house sitting right at the bottom of my stomach. “Carlton will be by with car at 5 o’clock.”

“Yes, sir.”

“And Knighten…do keep the place more respectably.”

“But I…yes, Father.” I cut my explanation short for what I knew he ‘wanted’ to hear. I don’t think there was room enough for inside of me for an excuse since it was all being hoarded up by the full size brick house.

Once my father shut the door, I began picking up the gentle mess around the apartment. Henry was on the couch. He was now stirring.

Henry had lost his apartment after he wasn’t able to make rent for the second month. His old band still owed him a sizable sum for a few gigs that Seamus had blown on gambling debt. But now that Seamus was dead with his brains plastered across the floor in a basement of one of the local nightclubs, and his body…wait…wait…it should have been thrown into the Never-Never…but that was Silas’ handiwork. My goodness we threw him instead in the Chicago River?…which means we must have hauled his dead bloody body in MY car! They will trace his death back to me! How could I have let this happen?!

Oh wait, wait. Seamus is NOT dead. That’s right. It is still hard to distinguish one time-line from the other. After seeing what Henry was capable of ‘last’ time, and knowing that Silas wasn’t there ‘this’ time, I prevented Henry from killing his despicable band leader. Even Benny agreed this time to turn him over to the police. I guess once he could see how time can be changed, he started to see that Ol’ Seamus might not be so ‘beyond redemption’ after all. Needless to say, Seamus was not in a place to collect a debt from while being contained inside Dunning Asylum for the Criminally Insane.

Henry was looking a bit down.

“What’s up Hank? Looks like something is on your mind.” I asked while stooping to pick up a pile of clothes and an overcoat.

“Huh, what?” Henry shook his face back and forth as if shaking off a daze. “Oh. I-I haven’t felt myself lately. Ever since I cast the Fetch out of me, I have felt so cold. Kind of ironic since the Fetch are beings of death and cold. But, somehow the Fetch blood gave me some warmth. Knighten, I wish you could understand the feeling. You see the Fetch has always protected me, kept me safe. I never told you this before, but many years ago my family was viciously taken from me. I am alive today because I was half-Fetch at that dark time. Their murders could not touch me because I was not quite human. I was more than human. Now? Well, now I am just Henry. I feel as though I betrayed that part of me when I chose to repeal the Darkness…I regret I did it.”

“What are you talking about? Like CG said, your path only had two choices. Your other choice would have ended up probably hurting one of us. Or worse, Benny would have probably KILLED you. You know how he gets when he slips into that mantra of his: ‘They are beyond REDEMPTION!’ Its like he thinks he’s God himself. He wouldn’t have let you go on as a full Fetch, you know that.”

“I know. But still. Its gone.”

“What about that cloak you have been talking about?”

“My uncle Philip’s cloak?”

“Is that who gave it to you?”

“Yah, I am wearing it now. You want to see?”

“What you are wearing it. I thought it was a cloak, not a trench coat?”

“You call yourself a budding wizard and you assume things are always what they seem to be?” Henry jested with a much needed smile. He took off his seeming trench coat. As he did this, the stiff canvas cloth of the coat softened to a flowy, glossy drape made from a fine selection of dark brown furs. Surprised by the illusion, I took a closer look, examining the surface of the cloak with amazement.

“Is this sable fur? And these runes…I am unfamiliar with them. But look how they seem part of the fur. They are neither dye, nor paint; but seem to be made from the very hairs.”

“Sable?”

“Yah, large mustelid related to a weasel and badger with dark brown fur with golden markings found in the northern parts of Eastern Europe and the Ural Mountains…you know, a sable.”

“Mustelid? Look all I know is that when I put it on I could take a full-on hit from a 20 pound sledge right to my face, and didn’t even take a step back let alone flinch.”

“That is astounding! Why are you still feeling powerless then?”

“I never said I was feeling powerless…just cold and empty. Anyway, I wonder what the rest of the gang is up to.”

“Man! I forgot all about our meeting with Dr. Johnson at 1 am. Dang, ever since Silas was—-well erased, I have been having a tough time remembering things.”

“What? Silas? Erased? You mean that really happened? That wasn’t just a bad trip I had? I was trying to drown out my racing thoughts the other day with a drink or two. All I could find was some moonshine. I thought it was tainted with wood alcohol or something worse with all those ‘visions’ I thought I had. Wooh! That is good to know.”

“Henry Angus McDougal Sutter!! Moonshine? That stuff kills. Just last month three bodies were found in the streets, dead from methanol poisoning. I believe Mother reported 9 new cases of alcohol blindness found at the shelter last week; 3 were permanent!”

“Relax, Knighten. Three out of nine? Those are good odds in my book. And what is a Scot supposed to do? Who the hell thought it what a Christian act to make drinking illegal? Do you know how many Scots live in this country? Did they ever consider our pain? PAIN, Knighten! Lots and lots of pain!”

The Scot began to blubber.

“May the Saints save me! I came THIS close, the other day.” He pinched his thumb and index fingers tightly together, and squinted through the obvious non-existent space between them. “This close, Knighten, to throwing up my arms and shoving off back to Scotland where its a crime NOT to drink and be merry. How else are we Scots supposed to keep up our large families if not for getting the occasional drunken spirit that makes all wives seem like the goddess Aine herself? Mark my words Knighten, when they finally revoke this god awful law there will once again be a boom of crying babies back in the Scottish-American homes; whole generations of them!”

“And THAT is why a Scot will never make it into the Oval Office.” Knighten chuckled lightheartedly. “Come on we might still be able to catch them at the Station.”

CG flitted hastily in front of my face as I turned towards the door. “Knighten, I needed to speak with you and your friends.”

“Now CG?”

“Well, as soon as possible; but before you go to this hoity-toity party. Its very important.”

“Just tell me now. I will tell the gang.”

“No, no! They have to be here.” She was becoming more excited on the angry side.

“Okay, okay. I will bring them here. Do no trickery around them!”

“Trickery? Knighten, I never!”

“CG, you need to promise me that you want do any tricks, you have to behave. Or, I won’t bring them over.”

CG bit her upper lip and shook in the air clearly put off by the word “promise”. She hated when I made her “promise”, only because she knew it was her fault for revealing that secret about the Fae, in which they could not break a promise.

Finally, just as it seemed she would explode from the pressure building up in her itty-bitty face, she suddenly change to a pleasant demeanor and respond. “Okay, Knighten. No tricks. I promise.”

“I will try to bring them over tonight, even though it will be quite late.” With that Henry and I left for Dr. Johnson’s.

Knighten signature

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Visions of Red
And the attack on Civilization

Day dawned bright on the morning of the 6th. Some, having lived as long as I have, would forget calendars, but I find them beautiful – like paintings of landscapes. Time is as powerful a force of nature as the tide, and unchangeable as the mountains; no matter what you do, time will correct itself. This day was a moment in time, a landmark. It was the seventy-seventh anniversary of the day that I met my Rosa, and her birthday.

Time likes to play games like that – ‘coincidences’ and number games. Take Rosa for example. We met when she turned twenty-three, which is a very prominent number in many cultures, especially as a hidden number. She was immortalized on her thirtieth birthday, seven years later. We moved back to the United States, near Chicago on her ninety-seventh birthday, and when she turned one hundred, a symbol of completion and an end of one thing and beginning of so much more, I met ‘them.’

ManorNo detail was spared in this magnificent dwelling over my head. It provides a surprise around every corner, from the gorgeous sitting rooms to the decadent entry-way. We enjoy Lake Michigan breezes all summer long, nestled in the heart of the garden adjacent to the family room. Not to mention the more – secluded – parts of the house. It truly is my home. I have moved very few times over the years, and this one is as much a part of me as the others have been.

Preparations started years in advance for Rosa’s Party. As the years turned to months, then weeks, things started to fall into place. With days to go, I felt the uncomfortable sensation of time correcting itself. I had felt it in the past, and a few times it happened with people that I knew that ceased to exist. It feels like… well, like a joint being popped out then back into its socket. It was stronger than normal, which means I was close to the ‘epicenter.’ Apprehensively, I started to take all of the precautions I could to assure the party went through as planned.

The day of the party, the three bootleggers supplying us with refreshment decided they ‘wanted a little extra coin.’ I could tell they were more than they seemed to be; the nearly-bald Pollock held himself like a man-of-arms, so I would guess an officer, and no rookie. The ‘pretty-boy’ had an ageless aspect to his bright eyes, much more than any man would ever have at his apparent age. The Scotsman had a strange coil in his step, like a snake’s muscled movements across the sands; sure and calculated. They were not who they showed themselves to be, so I could assume they weren’t asking for positions at the party for employ alone.

I decided to let them in, though I would have to have my housekeeper, Ms Gilencutty, keep an eye on them. I trust her more than my Butler, Harcourt, though he is still trustworthy. For those of you who know my past, yes I do trust these Englishmen; I no longer have qualms with Brittany.

Ms Gilencutty was overseeing work in the master suite when I heard the voices from the kitchen of ‘the three’ asking the Chef if there was anything else that could be done. I called for her, and she appeared noiselessly at my side. ‘Those men downstairs, if you could help them find a place tonight I would appreciate it.’

‘Yessir,’ and she turned to leave.

Before she got too far, I called, ‘oh, and Ms Cutty, make sure their stay is – uneventful – as well.’

I heard her raspy huffing, the closest she could get to a laugh after spending so much time dusting ashy apartments in London and caking her lungs. I gave her lozenges – hardened orange juice, mint and honey – to help with it, but it never seemed to get better.
I picked up the rotary and asked to be connected to the agency I go to for party servants.

‘Yes?’ the gruff voice came through the earpiece.

‘Hi, this is Renato. I need to cancel my reservation for tonight; I no longer have need.’ I said, as apologetically as possible. ‘Thank you.’

‘Mhm. Please, remember us for all your future servant needs.’ The phone clicked silent. My he sounded unhappy. Luckily it hadn’t taken more than a few seconds. I heard Ms Gilencutty’s shrill lashings coming up from the ground floor. I called down to the kitchen.

A worried and apprehensive scullery answered. ‘H… h… Hello, Alfieri Manor, Kitchens. How may I serve?’

‘It seems the servants for tonight are under the weather, and we are in need of replacements. Could you please inform Housekeeper Gilencutty?’

‘Oh… um… Yes. Yes, of course Master Alfieri;’ I could hear the sheer terror in her voice. She’d worked her long enough to get on the wrong side of Cutty’s broom handle, ‘do you require anything else?’ she asked after a gulp. ‘A finger sandwich perhaps? Juice?’

‘After you relay my message, if you could send up a cup of mint tea and a wafer, I would be appreciative.’ And I hung up the phone. I could still hear the lashing coming up from the entryway. Those poor men didn’t know what they were getting into. Ms Gilencutty was an impeccable Housekeeper, and as such she had honed her briny tongue. If you got her really riled up, which sometimes I would do for fun, she would slip even further into her accent, and would fall back on the gutter language she’d grown up with. I walked to the top of the stairs to listen to the events unfold. The scullery was so quiet and apologetic I could barely hear her. I couldn’t help but chuckle, as Ms Cutty was on the take, so she would do nothing to the kitchen aid, or to the three ‘carrapatos.’

They went into the Piano room, as I liked to call it. Though there was no piano in there tonight, if we were going to fit one hundred guests in there. The Butler was overseeing the last touches on the room. They would go through training with the Butler. Oh, I was well aware of the treatment that they were going to get from that teacher.

When I first hired Harcourt, he insisted that my other servants take a course in Butlery and serving. I oversaw the process, to ensure everyone was up to par. He had me do something none of my other man- or maid-servants had ever done – take part in the training. I wore a ‘ramrod’ for a day. I chuckled ruefully, and maybe a bit too loudly, at how uncomfortable that experience was. At least I had eyes on them. Servants were only invisible to the complacent master and the ignorant party guest, neither of which described me, and definitely not Rosa. She is like a master of the Loom, guiding each thread and color into its place in the tapestry. I have never learned her knack for ‘politics.’

The remaining hours passed without incident, thankfully. We had everything set, and the guests started to arrive. The list consisted of people I could trust as anti-abolitionists, as there would be drink available. I also allowed for acquaintances to be invited, as long as they sent me their contact information before-hand. I watched at the foot of the stairs in the foyer, greeting my guests. I am very careful not to welcome any but my friends; welcoming is an invitation for some of the nastiest creatures I have run into over the years. There is a strange magic with the perimeter of a home, and it weakens somehow the supernatural. This truth has been reinforced in my mind time and again, watching the tango that unfolds when supernatural entities try to score an invitation.
One such instance occurred as Mr Knighten and Dr. Johnson arrived. A young man who, according to modern calculations, could barely have been old enough to be called a man tried to gain entry through invitation. The saying, ‘I wasn’t born yesterday,’ is very applicable. He didn’t seem dangerous, though it’s never smart to judge a rock by what you see of it above ground. Eventually, he grudgingly pushed his way through the mysterious barrier. About a half-hour later, a group of foreign – Italian by the look of them – dignitaries pushed their way in as well. As was procedure, I had certain members of staff watch those I noticed have trouble with the threshold.

FireworksFinally the one hundredth guest arrived. I gathered the guests into the room to the left of the foyer, outside my study, and started the party. ‘Friends, acquaintances, guests. Thank you all for coming! And to my lovely Rosa, your gracious and perfect hostess!’ I waited for the applause to subside, and continued, ‘tonight’s festivities will be started with a special surprise, if you all would look through the windows?’ And behind the scenes, the staff at the manor signaled to those on the Lake. Ten count after I finished, a volley of fireworks launched into the sky. It was in a pattern of a rocket first, followed by two fireballs, painting 1-0-0 into the skies.

After a few volleys, two of the ‘impostor’ waiters wheeled the cake out. I made sure there weren’t any guests too close to the flame of the candles, as that would be a bit too… dangerous. Rosa and I blew the flames out without a hitch, thankfully, and we divided the cake up into pieces for our guests with one extinguished candle apiece. ‘If we could all move onto the patio when you have received your piece, you can go through the door at the back of the foyer,’ I directed.

We had all made it to the patio, and a buzz of talking and laughing had settled over the crowd, when a scream came from inside. My hands started to tingle, the sign of adrenaline starting to course through my body in anticipation of a fight. I called to the guests to stay calm, and gave Rosa a pointed look to keep order in the party while I sorted the issue out. I motioned for the Doctor, John Johnson, to follow me, and I noticed he brought the Knighten boy with him; interesting.

We entered through the foyer, and the acrid stench of blood filled my nostrils, I glanced into the room on the left of the entrance, saw nothing, and glanced into the Dining room on the right. I saw a body under the table. I started to motion for the Doctor to come forward when the officer entered the room. He had a scowl on his face that could have stopped most people dead. Out of his pocket came an FBI badge, and he jerked a gesture I could only assume said ‘Get Out.’

I could understand his brusqueness. He was in my home where I ‘let’ a murder happen, he needed to prevent anyone from covering the murder up, and everyone was on the list of suspects. Everything that happened next was inexcusable. He is an officer of order, a scion of justice and law; he should try to maintain order and not create chaos. I am the master of the manor, and as such I can and should direct anything that happens. I learned he ordered Harcourt around after I left the room. He then had his cronie, Mr ‘Pretty-boy’ play host. ‘The Murder Mystery has begun,’ he said to my guests. Hilarious… I am glad my wife doesn’t get offended easily, as the hostess; she doesn’t have my flaw of ‘the vendetta.’

I didn’t get time to look at the body under the table properly, so I didn’t see that it was the staff member that was assigned to trail the foreigners. The Irishman came out of the dining room, and pulled me aside, to talk to me about how ‘I could help them.’ He told me he is a vampire hunter, which gave so much away in that moment. First of which, I knew that the FBI agent was in cahoots with non-mortals. Second, I knew that the victim was most likely killed by a vampire. Third, that the victim was someone close enough for convenience. Finally, that the beasts would have been one of those I had watched. The wheels in my head started to spin.

The hunter asked for the guest list. A very reasonable request, given the circumstances, but when I had it brought out, he demanded, on orders by the FBI agent, that I relinquish it into their custody without caveat. I couldn’t have that. That list would be a banquet for an officer bent on enforcing the Prohibition. It also is up to the Host to maintain the privacy of his guests, murderers or not. I was fine with him looking over the list, especially as a way to make sure he questioned every one of my guests, but he wasn’t going to bring their contact information to anyone but those dedicated to the investigation of THIS murder. The hunter puffed himself up, cracked his knuckles, and I relinquished the list on the condition it wasn’t out of my sight more than five minutes; there were more important things to do than to break this man’s spirit.

The Agent then sent the list to the Pretty-boy, who started to copy the list. Copy it! And in plain view of the guests! These aren’t some mere college-boys who’ll give their names away for a drink or to a pretty face; they are the powerful and successful of Chicago. As host, it’s my duty to verify their privacy, and I can’t do that with more than one list, one of which will be in an officer’s hands, and a power-hungry one at that. There is a group of people whose philosopher stated it rather succinctly; exercising unrighteous dominion over his fellow man. I understand his pride was pricked, but that’s no reason to piss on the ashes of my wife’s ruined birthday party.

With the information gained from the Vampire Hunter, I had my wife weave her tapestry, and look for the culprit. I didn’t want to taint her search with my preconceptions gained from my talk with the Scott; no matter how smart I think I am, I am not infallible. Rose got to one of the Italians, the Morretti family, at the same time that the young Knighten did.

Then everything turned from bad to worse – the kid started to glow. Vampires aren’t keen on being outed to society, but just like any animal, it will lash out when cornered. All we needed to do was to maintain the facade for a little while longer and invite the Italian into the house, or have the party go inside while we stayed outside with the beast. But hot-shot decided he wanted to corner a lion, and stick his spear in its face.

These reckless barbarians – they nearly got everyone killed, and ruined Rosa’s party. They have absolutely no regard for anyone or anything, other than the destruction of ‘evil.’ Their blood-lust in the presence of non-mortals blinds them to the existence of innocent bystanders. Unfortunately, I was once exactly like them. I learned my lesson, but it took much too long to learn it.

Benny, whose arrogance and pride block his reasoning and judgement, discharged his weapons in the middle of the party. He stopped copying momentarily to do so, at which point I immediately palmed the original list. He killed the vampire, at which point the Scott and my wife covered up by trying to make it all out to be elaborate stage effects. I am surprised they actually all fell for it. It’s amazing how lucky they were tonight – in so many different ways. I was a breath away from lashing out at them; maybe I haven’t learned my lesson so well.

I dismissed the guests, much to the consternation of the Agent, and I invited the five to stay afterward in my study, to get to know each other, and to talk of what the road ahead has in store. The single-minded horses with blinders refused immediately, demanding to have the list back to track down the rest of the family. Looking at the list, I saw that the vampires were invited by one of my other guests, one that didn’t show up. Benny checked the incomplete list in his hand, and realized that he didn’t have the original. ‘Where is it?’

‘It is safe, where it should be. Now come, enjoy a glass with me in my study and talk.’

They badgered me and my wife for a while longer, until finally they gave in. The kitsune came to me, and asked if he could take a drink to the officer. I asked what drink would do best, and the fox told me either a nice scotch, or potato vodka. Vodka is very uncommon, but I had a good 40-year-old scotch. I gave him the bottle, wrapped, but he brought it back. Pricked ego indeed. Benny, the pretty-boy, agreed to talk with me in the study only if he had his weapons with him. He left, and came back with several pieces of artillery.

I have decided to go along with them, in their quests. I felt today an energy I haven’t felt in decades. It will be good, to finally be back on the front-lines, and do more with my sword than slice fruit.

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A stich in time saves five

It is a strange thing to remember what has yet to come..This bunch of people that I have lived with.. One Silas is gone now… Lost..I don’t fully understand.. I remember running in a nightmareish place from gouls and dragons…Now it’s like it never happened and we are doing it all over again…The human part of me is afraid..The Kitsune excited…Then we went away from the dream and hunted a boy with a black heart..If I was pure Kitsune I would have been having fun but my human half wanted to kill this boy to unlesh my rage to make someone feel my pain and fustration…Maybe just as well he got away..I scared myself some…But I still wonder am I the fox or the man…I’ll stay with my friends I hope I find the answer..I hope I don’t die trying to descover who i am…..

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