Faithslinger Chronicles – Shadow Games Chapter 5

Earp locked eyes with Lucy for just a moment, but it seemed like an eternity as the soul gaze took hold of him. In that moment, Earp saw the rage that Lucy must have been carrying within her for most of her life spewing upwards in a fountain of flame. Then the outer walls of the fountain spread out forming a pair of fiery wings and exposed the dragon within her. It roared in terror and fury and lunged forth its head and snapping at Earp with its jaws. Just then Earp felt a tug and the image disappeared, only to see that one of the officers pulled him out of the doorway and Tremere standing before him and forming a shield to stop the fireball aimed at the team. The fireball, which vaguely took form of a dragon's head slammed into the shield, but the force behind the attack threw Tremere back to the far wall and catching his sleeve on fire. Tucker narrowly dodged away, but was quickly on top of Tremere helping him put out the fire with his lab coat.

Earp looked back at Lucy smiling in defiance as she watched her captors scramble for composure. She began to walk towards the group again when Ricky appeared at the other end of the hall. 'Lucy, we got what he wanted. Let's go, now!' called out Ricky.

'But I'm not done yet. I wanna watch the piggies sizzle like bacon', sneered Lucy with contempt.

'We're on a time table and Daniel will leave us behind if we don't leave ', Ricky replied quickly. 'We have to go!'

Lucy stared daggers into Ricky for a moment, and then said, 'Fine! But I hate missing the good stuff.' Lucy mustered up her will again and dropped a pair of softball sized fireballs at her feet and began to walk away. As the two balls of flame began to grow and form appendages until they took form as a pair of jackals. Lucy said, 'Play!', and then ran off to join Ricky.

The two jackals whipped their heads around to get their bearings and then took focus on the squad of cops ahead of them.

The jackals started charging the doorway, but two of the officers slammed the door shut in front of them with the third taking a supporting position by Tremere and Tucker. They felt the thump as the two constructs slammed the door followed by the smoldering of wood and the cracking of glass. 'We need a plan', called out one of the officers. As the others looked to each other for ideas, Tucker made a quick sprint and entered the fire escape.

'How is she doing that? I thought casters had to focus on a spell to do stuff like that.' asked Earp.

'Usually yes, but I think that the residual left in the kidney gave her the boost she needed', replied Tremere. 'I think that I know how she did it, but I can't tell if I can counter spell the effect unless I try.'

'Have you ever done anything like this before?' asked an officer.

'Nope.'

'Well, you got no choice now. They're about to tear through the door', called out the officer.

'Fall back now! Marc, go with them. I'll hold them off as long as I can', called out Earp.

'Always with the chivalry', replied Tremere. 'Five Mississippi then run back to our position. I'll cover you.'

The officers and Tremere began their retreat to the fire escape, leaving Earp pressing against the doors. The jackals continuing to scratch and slam against the doors until they were knocked off the hinges, dropping both doors and the weight of the two fiery constructs on top of the detective. Earp tried to maintain cover as the two beasts continued to claw through the door to get to him. Just then, the sound of metal rolling against the floor came towards the melee with a call 'Fire in the hole!' This was followed by a few gunshots which peppered the beasts and the doors covering Earp.

'Protect me Father', whispered Earp as he shut his eyes, followed by a loud blast and all went white. A minute later, the reminisce of the doors were being pulled off and Earp was being helped up to his feet.

Tucker looked at Earp and said, 'Type B fire extinguisher. I figured that they couldn't burn through the chemicals in the extinguisher.'

'What!' called out Earp as he staggered towards the group.

'Damn! You took a hit. I'll look after Earp, you guys take a look around and figure out what's missing', said Tucker. Tucker and Tremere then led Earp to Autopsy Room A while the other officers searched the rest of the building. Tucker pulled out the first aid kit and started working Earp's ears. Tucker looked at Tremere, 'Well, his drums are not ruptured, but the ringing will last a while. Make sure the EMTs check him out before he leaves. Can you drive him home?'

'That should not be a problem', replied Tremere. After treating Earp, Tucker looked around the lab for a moment and then stopped. 'What's wrong?' asked Tremere.

'Gregorov's body is missing', replied Tucker. 'I think they took him'. Soon after the cops returned to the lab. 'The captain is going to be pissed', said one of the officers. 'The evidence locker was hit. It looks like they took the Book of Shadows and a few other things. Don't know what else is missing until a full inventory is taken. There's no sign of forced exit, so we don't know how they escaped.'

'They could have used magic to escape…opened a door to the Never whatever or something?' chimed in another officer.

'Crap', uttered Tucker under his breath.

After the EMTs looked after Earp, the Captain sent him home since he was in no condition to answer questions or fill out paperwork. Tremere drove Earp home and tucked him into bed for a few hours of sleep with pain meds in his system. Earp woke up to the sound of the front door shutting and he scanned the room. First to his dresser clock which read 12:15AM, then to night stand where his side arm was resting. He slowly pulled himself up and out of bed, still wobbly from events earlier today and stumbled to the living room. Marc Tremere was standing and preparing to leave the apartment. 'What's going on?' asked Earp.

Tremere replied, 'Go back to bed. You're in no condition to do anything right now.'

Earp snapped, 'Don't tell me what to do in my own home, Marc! Now tell me what's going on.'

Tremere looked to the ground and shook his head. He then looked back at Earp, 'I got a call from El Jefe. He told me where to find the sorcerers. I asked Aiden to pick up something from my place and bring it here so I'd have the edge dealing with them.'

'And you were going to cut me out take them on by yourself?' asked Earp.

'Sorcerers are White Council business, no need to drag you into it too. You're in no condition to deal with this issue and Aiden is not ready for this. It's best if I deal with this alone', said Tremere.

Earp slowly walked back to the bedroom. 'I am still the law around here. You're not leaving me behind on this.'

'And if I try?' asked Tremere

'I'll arrest you right now.'

'For?'

'You still haven't paid that ticket yet.'

Tremere thought back to when he opened a portal to the Never Never to stop a ghost and the $500 traffic ticket Earp slapped on him for the moving violation associated with the act. He smirked at the memory and said, 'Well hurry up then. We don't have the time to wait.'

The duo started driving northbound towards the lights of the city, Tremere behind the wheel and Earp checking his firearms.

'We should have backup for this', said Earp quietly.

'I agree, but we're on our own this time. El Jefe tried calling SAU to let them know what was going on, but they wouldn't take the call. Between everything that happed this afternoon and the PR nightmare that followed, SAU is short staffed as is. They're spread out too thin between their manhunt for the trio, the captain is trying to answer question of the higher ups, leaving Warner to hold down the fort. El Jefe's reputation as a gossip rag publisher doesn't help him with the police either.'

'So where are we heading then?' asked Earp.

'Tempe Mission Palms, Room 419.'

The Tempe Mission Palms is a small, yet posh oasis nestled in the college recreation lane of Mill Avenue. With its palm trees and southwestern style architecture, it is unassuming spot from outside but a very chic location to stay close to downtown Phoenix with upscale fashion with downscale pricing. The duo pulled up in Earp's Suburban and they stepped out to walk towards the hotel.

'Earp, you look for Room 419. I'll see if I can finagle some keys for the room', said Tremere.

'I can get the desk representative to get us the keys', replied Earp.

'Do you have your badge?' asked Tremere.

Earp checked his pockets, 'No.'

'Then my way it is then', replied Tremere.

Earp and Tremere separated and Earp took the elevators up to the top floor to locate the fugitives. He headed to the elevator and moved up to the fourth floor. The hallway was empty, littered with used plates and glasses from the patrons staying the night. Earp continued to roam the halls thinking to himself how to handle the situation. As far as he figured, with no backup and other residents sleeping in the adjacent rooms, it would difficult to apprehend three spell slinging fugitives on his own. However, if they could sneak in and take them by surprise, there may be a chance to take them in alive. Earp finally found the door to Room 419 and took position further down the hall waiting for Marc Tremere to arrive. After a few minutes more Marc appeared in the hallway and Earp beckoned him to his position.

'Were you able to secure the key?' asked Earp

'Definitely.'

Earp pondered this for a moment. 'How did you secure a key so quickly?'

'I know a guy at the hotel. Bribed him with a nicklebag.'

Earp glared at him,'Possession with the intent to sell?'

'Afghan Kush? I should think not. That's my private reserve you're referring to.'

'We are going to have words about this when this is over', said Earp.

The duo approached the door and Earp listened at the door for a moment. He nodded his head and Tremere opened the digital lock with the passkey and opened the door slightly. Inside they could see a food cart with many empty bottles of alcohol resting on it. Earp drew his gun and quietly pushed the door open and started taking account of the room as he panned the area with this gun sights. The television was on playing an infomercial of some kind, what remained of dinner for three was on the table. Daniel was passed out on the lazy boy chair in front of the television. Earp approached his silently and checked him over, the smell of booze made it clear that Daniel was in no condition to react. Earp motioned to Tremere to move towards Daniel to secure him and moved on to the bedroom. Here he found Ricky and Lucy asleep on the bed, both dead to the world for the moment. Earp proceeded to the bathroom where he found the Gregorov's corpse wrapped in the shower curtain and covered in ice. Evaluating the situation, Earp put away his gun and started walking back to the living room.

"Marc, it looks like they partied a little too hard and called it a night. We should be able to get them to lockup without…" said Earp as he walked into the living room. Marc Tremere stood there, blasting rod in hand aimed at Detective Earp.

"I'm sorry James, but I have no choice. You should have stayed at home and let me deal with counsel business", said Tremere.

"I can't let you do this", replied Earp, eyes trained on the blasting rod. Measuring this distance, he has a split second to dodge whatever was coming and get to Tremere before anything else could happen.

"I know", replied Tremere. "Tairyoku!"

Earp attempted to dodge left of the blasting rod and catch Tremere off guard, but the blast of force caught him in the right knee. The force of the blast through Earp up and to the left onto the table full of mostly eaten food. He hit the table hard shoulder first and the momentum carried him through the table and onto the floor, continuing to roll until he abruptly hit the wall and knocking him out in the process.

As Earp looked up at Tremere, Tremere picked up the phone and dialed a number as he watched Earp. When the phone call connected, Tremere said, "Okay I got them. Send up your ghouls, I want to finish this tonight." Earp tried to get up, but the heaviness of his injuries and fatigue jumped his body and he passed out on the floor.