Savage Dresden

2.24 Besieged by Vampires

In which the heroes seek a cure and a traitor is revealed

During Braun’s lucid moments, he and Claire discuss how they’re going to handle his condition. He has a strong will, but the blood lust grows stronger and it’s only a matter of time before he gives in to the curse. And yet, they possess the one artifact in the world known to pacify vampires: the Blood Stone.

They’re not sure exactly what will happen if Braun were to drink from it, given that he’s not a full vampire. They see three possibilities: it’ll satisfy the blood lust, letting him retain control; it just might cure him and remove the curse; or it could turn him into a full vampire. But it’s the only option they can find, so they prepare to perform the ritual that will activate the Blood Stone.

The Black Court has been hounding them lately, so Claire knows the Court’s spies will find out about the ritual and try to steal the Blood Stone. She and Marco recruit help to protect them during the ceremony. They call upon their ally Isaac MacDonald and his motorcycle gang, their new-found friend Charles Bob Smith, a slew of the local pixies to act as sentries and messengers, and finally, Claire calls up professional hit man Miguel Bain to provide some extra firepower. Because they know things are going to get ugly, she does not call Lee Majors. She knows it’ll be better to keep the detective out of this one.

The ritual takes place at Braun’s house. Jack and Braun will conduct the ritual, assisted by their friend Father Bernard — the ritual requires the blood of a holy man to activate the stone. It’s a long-form ritual that will take 15-20 minutes minimum to perform.

Meanwhile, Claire, Marco, and Selena are running the defenses from inside the house. The pixies and bikers form a perimeter around the house. Miguel takes up a sniping position on the third floor and Charles wanders the second floor, checking windows on each side of the house.

Jack begins the ritual. Fairy scouts report a van fast approaching on road leading to the estate. It’s intercepted by Miguel, who shoots the driver. The van flips over in the front of the house. Slowly, human lackeys of the Black Court begin climbing out, only to be met by pixies who dose them pixie dust (an itching powder that leaves the lackeys incapacitated).

Meanwhile, vampires attack from the side of the house, making their way to the dining room’s large French doors. They overcome the bikers who try to stop them. Charles, from a second-floor balcony, assails the vampires with thrown billiard balls and shuriken.

Claire, Marco, and Selena converge in the dining room, to meet the attack. They’re comforted knowing that the vampires cannot enter uninvited. That is, until Selena shocks them both by inviting the vampires in! Then she apologizes to Marco as she pulls a charm from her bracelet, intones a command word, and blasts him with a dark bolt of magical energy.

Claire and Marco are taken aback by this outright betrayal from their trusted ally, and Marco more so by Selena’s surprising skill at spellcasting. But they have no time to ponder the betrayal as the two vampires rush into the room from outside. The ensuing combat is fierce.

Meanwhile, back in the study, Jack is finishing the ritual. He successfully channels his power into the final piece of the spell, activating the power of the Blood Stone and causing it to drip the blood of saints. In the background, Braun is fixated on the study window, hearing a call from outside. He opens the window and invites in the vampire standing there, beckoning to him with its mesmeric powers.

The vampire, whom Jack recognizes, is Alex Megar, the leader of the Brotherhood of Budek movement. Now, he’s the leader of Budek’s vampires, and he’s come for the Blood Stone. Father Bernard holds the vampire back long enough for Jack to grab his blasting rod and spew forth magical fire at the vampire. He is able to defend the Blood Stone and send the vampire running.

Back in the dining room, Claire and Marco have similar results. They’ve managed to destroy one vampire, but the second one and Selena flee into the woods. When the night is over, a couple of bikers are hospitalized, but otherwise everyone is okay. The vampires fled and the heroes retain the magic artifact.



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