harrydresden: (Looking around)
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden ([personal profile] harrydresden) wrote2011-12-14 04:10 pm
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Non Mitternacht: Log with Penelope

A guy had to wonder how I got myself in these situations. Seriously, I was moving through the streets of London of all places, tailing a pair of Reds that had taken a page from Madrigal Raith's book and started preying on magic users. Fucking Madrigal Raith. If I could kill him twice I would have and that's saying something. I don't go in for killing if it can be helped. Killing isn't fun, and it doesn't make you feel much better about things. I had done some things in a fit of fallen induced rage that I'd regretted for a long time later. And even killing while protecting people important to me left me feeling dirty. So Madrigal Raith was a special kind of jackass.

I'd gotten the call from Chandler last week, he had his hands full as the guardian to the Edinburgh way but the network had thrown up a distress signal from out his way and I was the specialist (and sucker) that was willing to put in the overtime to deal with it. I'm not going to complain about it ... much. It's mostly the usual grumpy wizard complex. Chandler hadn't really gone into much detail about the schematics related to Wizardry in London, apparently there was a decent sized collective of both Council level and lesser wizards in the area. And there was some sort of hospital in the area which explained why the reds had chosen this to be their hunting grounds. While the Whites liked to get to know the victims (and one hand to when you fed off emotions) the reds just fed. Quick snag and drain really. They didn't have the same finesse. And predators often hunted the weak. It was pretty much status quo, go to, predator - prey behavior. In the long run, reds are generally predictable. They'd found a place with easy prey and they'd pretty much stuck to it.

Of course at night when the shops in the area started closing down was the best time for it, so here I was hiding in the shadows, watching down two of the streets the most people had gone missing. I really hadn't had enough sleep but that's the story of my life, I'd survived on less and solved crimes, I could do this. Snow started drifting down around me and I pulled my duster closer around me and held my staff in the crook of my arm so I could keep my hands warm.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-15 12:39 am (UTC)(link)
I hate being out late at night. Magical London was bad (especially for a half-blood) and Muggle London was worse (especially for a girl on her own), and I had to be on my guard at all times. I remember the days I used to like walking back to my flat from St. Mungo's, even when I had to work a night shift. Shivering, I pulled my scarf tighter to my neck and kept an eye on my surroundings, watching for sudden movements in the shadows.

And then I spotted one. I swore to myself - I'm in bloody Muggle London, I can't get my wand out, what was I thinking? - and I spun, making sure the other person knew that I knew they were there.

Another movement, fast - faster than I could see - and I screamed.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-15 12:58 am (UTC)(link)
The quick motion of the woman walking down the street toward me caught my attention, I'd mostly just been scanning the area, waiting for odd movement to really focus. I should have been watching the most likely victims more carefully. I'd be kicking myself over that one later. And of course she panicked seeing me. I seem to have that effect on normal people. Mostly I was used to getting weird looks. And sure I don't wear high fashion, so sue me. But are my clothes really that ratty? Apparently. Thomas would snicker about it when I complained to him. I didn't have time to sigh in frustration.

The attack came quickly, the vampire must have been hiding in the eaves of one of the awnings of the shops lining the other side of the street because it came from above and in a blink a bat-like creature the size of a person grabbed the woman and shot out for the alley between the shops. I swore fluidly and took off at a run after them, my duster flapping out behind me. You could tell the war was in full swing when the reds didn't even bother to put on their pretty human suits. Just those horrible wrinkly bodies, with long limbs and distended bellies. I unholstered my 44 as I rounded the corner and aimed.

Apparently I wasn't expected because she wasn't being used as a shield just yet but that saliva was dripping deadly close to her skin as the vampire opened it's mouth wide, another climbing down the side of the building toward them looking like a kid on Christmas morning. I didn't even think, thunder erupted from my gun and blew through the engorged stomach of the animal about to feast on the woman, saved mostly by having a scarf tightened around her neck making it hard to get to the vittles. The vampire I'd hit let out an ear piercing wail and fell backward and away from the victim, clawing at it's belly like it was trying to put things back together even as the well of blood spilled into the snow at it's feet like some sort of demented snow cone flavoring.

The other one was still coming and I yelled at the woman, probably a little more harshly than I ought to as my forward momentum continued. "Get behind me!" I lifted my fist and released the built up energy in my ring, the unleashed force hitting the descending vampire like a buick and throwing it off down the alley.

It wasn't one of the ratty little cowardly ones though because it stopped tumbling and bounced to it's feet starting to move back toward us with hissing guttural noises of anger.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-15 02:08 am (UTC)(link)
I stood stock still for a moment, terrified at the sudden whirlwind of sound and grabbing and then I was pushing at the thing that had latched onto me, wishing to God I could just get out my wand and blast it away. And then there was a sound like a cannon going off, and the thing was on the ground, writhing and wailing. Eyes wide, I looked at my unlikely rescuer, then as he yelled at me, I followed his orders on the double. I'm not a good fighter, but I was in Ravenclaw for a reason, and getting behind the big man with the big gun seemed like the wisest course of action.

"What is that thing?" I demanded once I'd scrabbled behind him.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-15 02:25 am (UTC)(link)
I glared at the oncoming vampire like I meant to tear it limb from limb and really that wasn't all that far from the truth, my fingers tightened around my staff and I took aim with the gun. "Don't suppose you'd believe me if I said it was a vampire." I muttered back at her, and then more loudly at the thing coming toward us I snarled out, "That's right buck-o make my friggin' day." And shot. The thing was a little crazy but apparently not stupid because in a blink it was on the wall instead of in front of us, my bullet missing it's head but apparently snipping away at a piece of it's cheek.

I shook out my shield bracelet, ready to use it and looked up at animal still climbing spiderman style toward us. "Hold this." I shoved my staff back at her before reaching for my blasting rod.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-15 02:38 am (UTC)(link)
"Vampire?" I echoed, shocked. "But vampires don't look like that; they're more human-like!" I flinched back as the gun went off again, pressing a hand to my ear and hunching my other shoulder closer to the side of my head to protect that one, too. I opened my mouth to continue detailing the reasons why it couldn't possibly be a vampire - and then there was a massive stick in my hands, and I fumbled with it before getting a grip on it. "And what in the world is this?"

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-15 04:10 am (UTC)(link)
"Yeah when their wearing the skin welcome to what it looks like underneath." I shot back over my shoulder and then the Vampire threw itself off the wall straight for us and I had to stop talking to invoke my shield, a translucent half dome shone into existance in a bright swirl of colors that melted together into something silvery and then it flashed as the vampire struck it and I angled the shield let it's momentum carry it over us letting it drop at the last moment. I grabbed the woman by the arm to pull her back out of harms way and lifted my blasting rod focusing my will. I'd gotten better since I'd taken on the apprentice and I was able to contain this spell down to something that did less incidental damage. "Fuego!"

A thin stream of concentrated flame shot out the end of my rod sluicing through the midsection of the vampire. I didn't move just yet, looking from the other vampire, which had stopped moving and then at the one I'd burned through. The edges of the wound were singed and it gurgled blood up out from between it's lips.

In the distance I heard a shriek.

Shit. Three.

"We need to go, I'll explain later." I muttered, glancing back in the direction of the scream. "This way." I nodded toward the entrance to the Nevernever that I knew.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 02:17 am (UTC)(link)
I shrieked as the vampire lunged for us, holding up the giant stick thing like it was going to do any sort of good. (What was I going to do, hit it with it?) But then something like a Shield Charm appeared in front of us, and my eyes widened.

"You're a wi - " wizard was how that was going to end, but then we were going, and I was just glad I was wearing flats. It would be impossible to run in heels. "Where are we going?!"

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 03:37 am (UTC)(link)
I shoved my blasting rod back into my duster as we ran, pressing my hand against the small of her back to lead her the right way out of the alley.

Of course I sometimes forget, when slavering monsters are coming after me, that I have a lot of practice running. And that my legs are the relative length of a football field. I got a little far ahead of the woman before I realized it and had to calm my nerves and turn around to motion to her. I held out my hand for my staff, watching over the woman's shoulder for anything coming our way. "We're getting the hell outta Dodge, sister. I really don't want to find out the hard way I misjudged the beastie population by more than one."

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 03:58 am (UTC)(link)
I'm in pretty good shape. It's not bragging or anything to say that, I don't think; I spend a lot of time on my feet at St. Mungo's and I work out, too. Okay, so running isn't exactly how I work out, but it's something I've done. But this guy was ridiculous - he sprinted like his legs were Firebolts or something. I don't think his feet actually touched the ground at a couple of points. I did my best to keep up, but I was glad when he slowed down, and put the staff back in his hand.

"Why are we going, though?" I demanded. "Aren't you a wizard? We should just be able to Apparate!"

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 04:06 am (UTC)(link)
"Why are we..." I started out looking at her as though she must have just FORGOTTEN the last five minutes of ick, and then I stared a little stupidly at her. "Apparate? What the heck is that? Look I haven't taken my daily disappear me potion today and these guys can sniff us out under veils so I think it would be good to make like bananas and split." I drew my staff across a portion of brick wall in the street and the fabric of reality tore open letting through pale blue tinted moonlight and snow that turned to goo when it hit the ground in London. "In in in!" I urged her not taking the time to discuss magical philosophy with a stranger while vampires were around. Something moved at the edge of the alley and I felt my heart do a little jig inside my chest with serious thoughts toward death metal drumming.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
"What are you talking about?" I cried out, and then he opened the wall - but not like I would in Diagon Alley. This was different, somehow; less precise and more of a tear. Really, I would have loved to take some time to examine it, but the man was telling me to go, so in I went. Again, that was that wisdom acting as a preservation agent. Don't die now so you can learn more later.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 04:38 am (UTC)(link)
Oh thank your local deity the woman had stopped asking questions long enough to follow directions. I stepped through after her and sealed the entrance to the Nevernever, turning and gesturing toward the nearest path. "Look, the Red's have been getting through to the Nevernever for a couple of years now and we're not sure how so it's best to keep moving even if they're not hot on our tails anymore, the Way is over here." At least we didn't have to run. But even if the vampires didn't make it in, there were plenty of things in winter that really didn't care Mab had declared safe passage for wizards, we still looked like a midnight snack. I walked a little in front of her trying to pat down the snow with my feet. She wasn't dressed for plowing through snow and it was just polite after yanking her around.

Now that I wasn't running for my life, which I might add I shouldn't have been doing, Chandler had been told it was only two, I got a chance to glance at the person I was with. She was pretty, young, not too skinny with a nice roundness to her features that I found attractive. Of course it had been a while since I'd been with a woman so it didn't take much to attract my attention in that regard but she was pleasant to look at all the same. I made a point not to do that too much. "Sorry about this... I'm Harry Dresden." I stuck my free hand out to her, turning awkwardly to do so. I didn't mention I was a warden. That tended to scare people who weren't on the council themselves. And even some of them. Wardens were kind of the brute enforcement side of the White Council and I'd been yanked into the ranks when the reds had reduced our numbers so significantly that the Council got desperate. They didn't much care for me but occasionally they got the whole Darth Vader syndrome going. It's nice to have a guy that scares you fighting on your side.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
"What is this place?" I asked, wrapping my arms around myself. Even though my coat was perfectly appropriate for London winters, this was much different than a London winter. It was colder, and there was a wildness to it that I couldn't quite put my finger on. We were somewhere else, but I hadn't felt the nauseating sensation of Apparition, or the tug behind the navel that was a trademark of touching a Portkey. It was almost like he'd just torn a hole between two places and brought us in. I glanced over my shoulder, looking for - well, I'm not sure what; ragged edges in the sky? - but there was nothing.

When he introduced himself, I smiled, shook his hand. "Penelope Clearwater. What are Reds?"

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 05:02 am (UTC)(link)
It seemed pretty obvious we were in Winter's territory but maybe she just wasn't a powerful enough practitioner to have ever visited the Nevernever before. "Nevernever, Winter." I replied, "The Winter Queen's given us free passage through her land and so long as we keep our wits about us, it's a nice quick getaway." I replied.

She had a nice smile, it lit up her face and made her look older than I'd originally guessed. "A pleasure Miss Clearwater." I replied and my brows went up as our skin touched and the tingle of a strong practitioner passed between us. She wasn't a lightweight. "Reds." I replied distractedly, letting my hand fall to my side as I continued on. It seemed odd that someone with her level of magic wouldn't know. "One of the three vampire courts. Red, White and Black."

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 05:42 am (UTC)(link)
"Winter Queen," I echoed, trying to place the name. No, nothing was ringing a bell. If there's one thing I hate, it's not knowing something, especially something that someone else is treating like an elementary fact. "Sorry, the Nevernever is ... what, precisely? It seems to be some kind of ... I don't know, corridor between places? Outside of the regular world?"

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-17 04:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I didn't really want to say Mab's name while standing in her kingdom. Sometimes that kind of thing drew her attention and Mab was so no the kind of thing you wanted focusing her attention on you. I'd say it for her later. "Fae courts. Summer and Winter. Queens of the Sidhe." I supplied instead. I scratched my cheek as we walked and spoke to her over my shoulder, stopping once we hit a path, where the snow was more thin that around it. To the left would be the way to Edinburgh to the right though, we could hit Chicago. I turned right and waited for her so we could walk side by side on the path and I could offer more protection now that I wasn't just trying to make her path easier. "The Nevernever..." I glanced at her a little warily trying to decide if she was pulling my leg or not but she seemed to genuinely want to know, "is a place between worlds. It's where ghosts and demons and fae live. It's kind of... I dunno built on magic. So don't... don't touch anything here and don't eat anything offered here because you never know what it's going to do to you. And never ever owe a fairy anything. No thank yous even or they'll take it and run with it. And trust me, once you're in debt to a fairy, it just gets worse while you try to dig yourself back out of it."

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-18 08:36 pm (UTC)(link)
"Fae?" I repeated, unable to keep a little tone of disbelieving out of my voice. "You mean those little blue things, don't you? About six inches high, make an absolute bird's nest out of your hair if they get too close? They did all of this?" I shook my head. "That's impossible. They've some magic, but nothing that could create anything on this scale. And I've never known one to offer anyone food; they're hardly that selfless."

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-18 11:05 pm (UTC)(link)
"Blue?" I repeated trying to place what she was talking about. "Well, pixies are smaller Fae if that's what you mean. And if you let them near your hair you're out of your mind." He grinned imagining what Toot would do if someone he didn't like had long hair. "Nah, pixies would eat the food themselves." I agreed. "I'm talking about greater fae and it's best not to go naming names unless you want to deal with them face to face and personally I don't right now if it's all the same."

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-19 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
"That's fine," I replied, looking around and pulling my coat tighter to me, wishing I'd worn a thicker jumper. "So fairies made this corridor thing that ... well, why are we here, anyway? Why are we walking? Can't we go back to London now, or are those 'reds' still there? Do we have to wait here?"

A lot of questions, yes, but it's sort of part of my personality. I want to know everything as soon as I can in as much detail as possible.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-19 01:18 am (UTC)(link)
"I don't think the Sidhe actually made the Nevernever, but they do shape what it looks like. And I know I've seen the queens create a smaller portion of it when they were gearing up for ward. By the way, it's bigger than our world, not just a corridor. We're going to Chicago where I can regroup, find out what the hell is going on and then we can get you back home. But I'm waiting till daylight in London to get you back there." Of course in the Nevernever time passes differently so the sooner we were out of here the better. And this girl asked a lot of questions for someone I'd taken as a practitioner. I hadn't mistaken that tingle of power.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-19 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
"Chicago?" I echoed, stunned, and for some reason checked that I still had my purse. For Merlin's sake, if we were traveling to America, I'd need it. Did they even take Galleons in America? "I've never been to America before. Are we walking there?"

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-19 03:42 am (UTC)(link)
"Yep. And yes." I tilted my head a little forward, "Bout three more minutes this way. There's a first time for everything." I didn't turn my head when I heard snow fall off to the side but I was paying attention now. I think the spiders had been cleared out but sometimes things figured out wizards used this way and felt like they could take us by surprise. Something called in the distance sounding foreign and dangerous. I picked up the pace a little hoping she'd follow my lead.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-21 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
"Okay," I agreed, slowly, not sure how this was working. When he sped up his pace, it meant I was taking three steps for every one of his, my flats slapping lightly against the snowy path. "So in this Nevernever corridor, or world, or whatever it is, distances are compressed - letting us walk from London to Chicago with no problem?"

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-21 05:16 am (UTC)(link)
I rubbed my chin thoughtfully, the prickles of a five o'clock shadow rough against my fingertips and I puffed out a breath. "It's... not that they're necessarily shorter, it's just that they connect in different places. So what may be half a mile here might be three thousand miles in our world or vice versa. Sort of like a wrinkle in a blanket you can cut across our world at this particular spot in the Nevernever. Sometimes time works funny too." I paused as I saw the mark for the way to Chicago and stepped off the main path slicing through the air with my staff and ripping a jagged line in between the worlds. Other people could make this part look really pretty and fancy, I had been told on multiple occasions I had a lot to learn about traveling between worlds. It hadn't hit home till I'd seen the summer lady do it seamlessly. I held out a hand to help her through.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-23 06:56 pm (UTC)(link)
"And that is - a tear in reality?" I pointed to it, before absently lowering my hand to his to allow him to help me through. "What happens if I touch it? Will something horrible happen, or is it just like touching anything magical in origin?"

This had started out a rather dull evening, but it had gotten very interesting, very fast.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-23 07:25 pm (UTC)(link)
As she took my hand I swept my staff across from the edge of the tear and like a waterfall, flame licked down to form an opening into a twilight in a Chicago alley. "It'll give a little, kinda elastic but try not to, it makes it harder to hold the way open." I replied with a wry smile as I stepped through and pulled her after me. Behind us, the gate started to shrink. "When I do it, it's a tear, I know people who do a better job. The summer Lady made a door and I couldn't tell when it actually happened it looked so natural." I shrugged. My forte was more blowing stuff up and finding stuff. The more delicate stuff was ... a little rough when I did it.

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-23 07:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I stepped out and, for the first time, took in a breath in America. My eyes widened as I looked around, taking it all in. The buildings were so tall on either side of us (far taller than any I'd seen in London), and it was very cold.

"We're really in Chicago?" I asked, wrapping my arms around myself and clenching my teeth together to keep them from chattering.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-24 05:23 am (UTC)(link)
I watched her step through and take Chicago in feeling a bit of inner pride. Chicago had it's darkness and sure I might have to focus on that thanks to the job but it was my city and there were all kinds of things about it that were pretty cool. She looked cold and I started for a moment, taking my duster off and moving to drape it over her shoulders. It might not quite drag on the ground for her, she wasn't as dinky as Murphy but it would come close. Leather though, would keep her warm enough. So sue me, I believe in chivalry.

"Yep, home sweet home." I replied, moving to her side and beginning to walk toward my flat. There's a way to impress a girl, Harry, take her to your hovel. "Field Museum's that-a-way." I pointed, "Wrigley Field's a little south, the University isn't far either."

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-24 06:04 am (UTC)(link)
"Thank you," I said gratefully, pulling the coat tightly around my shoulders and shivering a little. For a really, really tall bloke who'd appeared out of nowhere, killed a few what-he-claimed-were-vampires, and could rip holes in reality, he was quite a gentleman. I followed his hand, interested in this 'Field Museum,' but I was thrown by his reference to 'Wriggly Field.'

"What's Wriggly Field?" I asked, imagining a field full of things that wriggled, which did not sound pleasant.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-24 06:20 am (UTC)(link)
"Don't mention it." I replied with a grin. Then paused, "What's...?" I glanced at her in surprise. But I suppose I shouldn't expect someone from another country to know about sports from my own. Even the really famous places. "Baseball. It's a baseball field. The Cubs play there." I chuckled quietly to myself as we walked. "Sorry, I should have been more specific. Named after a guy who made chewing gum and owned the team for a while."

[identity profile] infora-penny.livejournal.com 2011-12-24 06:56 am (UTC)(link)
"Oh," I said, mentally filing that information away. "Baseball is a Muggle sport, isn't it? There's bats or something involved, aren't there?" I looked up at him, making sure I was guessing correctly. Even though I'm half-blooded, my parents weren't exactly too into sports as it was, and I prefer Quidditch anyway.

[identity profile] chicagos-warden.livejournal.com 2011-12-24 07:32 am (UTC)(link)
"Muggle?" I repeated blankly. "Yeah it's a sport... kind of like Cricket but not really." It wasn't like I had the money to attend games really so I wasn't a huge fan but everyone knew what baseball was. Heck I hear it's huge in Japan. We moved brusquely through the seedier areas and into apartment sections. My .44 wasn't very well hidden without the jacket on and I'd rather move out of site of any police pretty fast-like. I was careful not to make her walk too fast though, I was pretty used to adjusting my steps to the people I was with, not many people were my height. "You can try to use my phone when we make it in, let people know where you are so they don't worry. " I offered realizing belatedly someone might be freaked out when their pretty girlfriend or daughter didn't show up when she should have. Don't think about that kind of thing much when you live alone. No one notices if I go missing a few days. And on cases that tends to happen.