Dresden Files – Signed in Blood
After talking with D’Shawn, Reg, Rebekka, Benny, and Jacob decide it’s time to get down to business. They discuss what they know: First, there is clearly more to the artist’s murder than meets the eye. Second, they have a lead on who might be trying to set up Jacob. Obviously, since those people work closely with Sheriff Fletcher, he might know something about it as well.
As the group is deciding what lead to pursue, a call comes in to Reg’s phone. The caller is Linda Kronsage, and she asks him to bring his friends to the shop to talk to her about another issue that is concerning her.
Everyone meets with Linda at Curios of the Third Eye. Linda explains that another of her customers, Content Not Found: xx-john-skarn-xx-deceased has not come to collect a special order item that he desperately wanted (and was in a hurry to get), nor has he returned calls, or answered the door at his apartment. Linda explains that she is worried and would appreciate it greatly if the group would see if they can find John.
Reg, Rebekka, Benny, and Jacob pile into Reg’s car and head to Skarn’s apartment in the classy Warehouse District. Skarn doesn’t answer the intercom, but after Jacob randomly pushes a few buttons, a less-than-vigilant tenant buzzes the group in. Knocking at Skarn’s door, the group fares no better. However, knowing that no barrier is insurmountable, Reg checks behind the apartment number and finds a spare key.
After letting themselves in, the group immediately notices a buzzing sound coming from the back of the apartment, as well as the stench of death. A bloody handprint, dragged across the kitchenette counter immediately leads the group to Skarn’s body, which looks to have been torn to shreds with hundreds, if not thousands, of small cuts. Written in blood on the oven door is another bible verse: Micah 5:12. “And I will cut off witchcraft out of thine hand.”
While Reg examines the body, Benny, Rebekka, and Jacob check out the bedroom. Immediately upon opening the door, the mystery behind the suspicious buzzing sound is cleared up. Out from under the bed pour thousands of Locusts that descend on the investigators in a swarm, giving them a small taste of the hell that Skarn went through just before his untimely demise.
Quick to anger as always, Jacob reacts first, picking up a chair and throwing it through the window to let some light into the room. It is only as the huge chair shatters the glass and goes crashing to the street below that Jacob and his friends realize the fatal flaw in that plan: now the locusts are free to roam about the city causing death and destruction anywhere. Working in tandem to try to contain the problem, Benny throws up a barrier over the apartment door and Rebekka summons all of her might (ignoring the fiery pain from her broken arm) to push a wardrobe in front of the broken window, thus containing the insectoid threat in the room.
Just before Rebekka, Jacob and Reg back out of the door to trap the locusts in the bedroom, Reg heroically runs to the door, and, putting that Library Science degree to good use, rolls a smoke grenade into the room hoping to use the smoke to calm the insects until another dawn can destroy the residual energy from their summoning.
…Then the smoke alarms go off.
…Then the sprinkler system turns on.
Knowing that the locusts are contained, and that it would be a bad idea to be caught in this crime scene, the group decides to leave; however, before they can make their escape, it occurs to Rebekka that the smoke alarm will bring emergency services personnel directly to this room, where they, too, will fall victim to the locust swarm. However, saving the emergency personnel seems unlikely, as now the group can’t even see through the thick smoke in the room. Luckily, keeping his head in the face of disaster, Reg remembers the industrial cooking exhaust hood in the kitchen. Turning it on, he gives the group one more chance to confront the locusts.
In a final, desperate attack, Rebekka lunges into the room and swings mightily at the locusts with her sword. Unfortunately, a sword is not the best weapon with which to fight a magical insect swarm, even if the swarm has been calmed a bit by the smoke in the room (and even when the wielder isn’t sporting a severely broken arm). However, when Benny slams the locusts against the wall with a force burst (shortly after Jacob heroically distracts them by making himself an obvious target), the vile swarm dissipates into ectoplasm.
Before the group hurries out in the wake of blaring smoke alarms, Benny stops to grab a watch off of Skarn’s corpse. Then, hoping not to be noticed, they all head out into the hallway to join the crowds. Leaving Reg’s car behind, everyone heads back to Rebekka’s apartment.
Once back at the apartment, Benny decides a little thaumaturgy is in order. Using the watch as a focus, and drawing upon both his own Voodoo power, and Reg’s knowledge of ritual. Benny is able to see through Skarn’s eyes, albeit briefly…
…After a long day of work, John Skarn comes home to cook a nice meal, and sit down and watch some TV. Immediately upon entering the kitchen, he notices his 8-inch chef’s knife is missing. That’s a pain in the ass. After turning back to the counter, he feels like he is being watched, and then hears a strange noise behind him. Turning around, he notices the noise is coming from the hood above his stove. When he bends down to peer into it, thousands of locusts pour out, immediately tearing at his soft flesh. He tries to pull himself over the counter, but isn’t strong enough. As he is dragged to the floor, John Skarn feels one more surge of willpower, however, it isn’t his own will, and it isn’t going to save him. Dipping his hand into the blood covering his chest, he drags himself to the oven and begins to write… M… 5… 1………
The group briefly panics as Benny blacks out, but they are quickly able to rouse him. Reg decides it is time to call Linda. Always suspicious, Reg makes it clear to Linda that he thinks that she is involved in this somehow, and he plans to bring her down; however, after Linda hangs up on Reg, Rebekka calls her back and explains that the group simply wants to help, and that she is not a suspect. It is during this conversation that the group discovers that Linda’s assistant, Rebecca Martin has been missing for weeks as well. Had Rebecca been a more responsible employee, perhaps Linda would have thought to bring it up sooner…
Following up on the information, everyone heads back to the Ninth Ward to check out Rebecca Martin’s apartment. Once again, a citizen of New Orleans shows poor judgment, leaving a key behind the apartment numbers outside her door. Upon entering the apartment, the group quickly encounters the stench of OLD death. They find the body on the floor of the bathroom, holding gore-covered steak knives in each hand. On the floor, scrawled in blood is L1931, or, as Rebekka translates for the group, Leviticus 19:31, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”
Again Benny and Reg team up to see what the dead girl experienced, while Rebekka and Jacob wait in the hall to make sure nobody disturbs the scene. With the body having been dead for so long, Benny is unsure whether or not he’ll get anything. But then…
…Rebecca stands in her bathroom, looking into the mirror… Face fades… Gold rings on each finger… Laughing… Crying…………..Digging the knives into both forearms at the same time, Rebecca saws gory cuts in each arm. Falling to the floor, writing in pain, she drags her right forearm across the floor, against her will… L… 1… 9…
Upon hearing of the vision, Reg immediately consults his reference materials. It would seem that these gold rings are an icon of the Demon Keeper, a very dangerous spiritual entity, and, as all demons are, a manipulator of men.
It seems that our investigators have discovered a pattern. But is the pattern useful? Have they got everything they need? Are they in over their heads? And are they in time, or is it too late?