Detroit: Dark Days

Dragon County Lines
Waking the Dragon

Handshakes in the Dark

When minor powers throughout Detroit’s supernatural community start dying, Trevor tries to protect the people who have acknowledged his power or come under his wing. But can he succeed when his opposition is out of his weight class, the city’s heroes mistrust him, and Trevor doesn’t even know his patron’s true goals?

Shaking hands and making easy promises he doesn’t intend to bind him, Trevor attempts to make himself a power other wouldn’t dare prey upon; as he realizes he can’t yet physically defeat even minor toughs like a mercenary ghoul sent to teach him a lesson in fear. As his fast and loose web of diplomacy meets external stress, and his own infidelity to inconvenient promises, Trevor’s patron appears and gives a new task. A new supernatural nation of minor talents and destitute mortals must be forged from nearly a fourth of Detroit’s suburbs, with alliances and enemies already made from Trevor’s political intrigue.

The Simplest Threshold

James Rutherford III finds himself cut off from the help he needs to improve his magical talents by local wizard librarian Janeane Raft, due to his association with a dark new element in Detroit’s supernatural landscape. Can he convince Detroit that his new friend is one of the good guys when Trevor has his own kind of moral compass, or will James have to distance himself to prove that he is one of the good guys.

With Trevor in tow, James goes to universally recognized good guy Father Mulcahey, to ask for any good works and charity cases they could accomplish to earn the priests endorsement for draconic emissary. The Father would support him if he only renounced his dark master, which Trevor professes willingness to do but clearly will not; so the two of them unsuccessfully set a prescient trap for a ghoul that has been preying on locals to try and prove their intentions.

Circles Within Circles

As the situation escalates, Trevor’s patron appears and seems to demand everyone in the neighborhood swear fealty and be branded with a hot iron. At last James decides that perhaps he cannot save his reputation by reforming Trevor’s, and washes his hands of the new nation; only to be ambushed by the ghoul. Defeating the ghoul with his own will rather than borrowed faith, James proves himself to be one of the good guys to Metro Paranormal Investigations and Janeane Raft, while proving to himself the power at his fingertips. James has managed to push his way into a deeper layer of supernatural understanding, while Trevor has set countless wheels in motion to change the lay of power in Detroit’s dark days.

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Red Storm
Filling In the Map

Puppet Strings

Cherberus tasks Trevor and James with tracking down those responsible for a crime perpetrated in The Elysium. Magical discharge prevented security cameras from capturing most of the event, but a girl is missing, as is the Red Court envoy whose bodyguards the remaining film implicates, and one of those guards ambushes them and is found to have been magically enthralled. Trevor stumbles into a magical trap at the envoy’s hotel, and James magically tracks the caster to Belle Isle Park.

Meanwhile, John Gonzales is offered hospitality in Trevor’s territory; and uses the close contact to addict the Dragon Count to his narcotic saliva. James struggles to find a mentor to take him as an apprentice, so that he is protected by the Accords and to help him take the next step in arcane education; but Janeane Raft feels like she has enough on her plate without contacting her estranged peers in the White Council to find James a master.

A Black Day

As a dangerous storm blots out the sun, the Count in Crimson and Aspiring Kinetomancer must stop a black magic ritual before it is too late, but how can they prevail against the ghosts fueling the spell, the demons protecting it, and the sorcerer who has suddenly and inexplicably abandoned all restraint? James fights fire with fire and magic with magic, putting ghosts to rest, smashing rock demons, and pacifying the rogue sorcerer with psychomancy; only to find the boy had been pushed over the edge by John Gonzales, to whom the sorcerer and Trevor are addicted. Before they can leave the park with this knowledge, they have to fight their way through Gonzales himself.

In Council

Solving the case earns the two no time to rest, as a meeting of the accorded powers in Detroit is called the next day. Cherberus repays his investigators by adjudicating the meeting himself so that all powers must play by the rules of the Accords, and inviting the local wizard librarian to take James as a apprentice rather than let him be executed. Trevor officially buries the hatchet with the local White Court representative and allows all of the other accorded nations to establish embassies in his territory in exchange for improving the areas they are given.

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At knife-point

“Guy’s got worse luck than a black cat.

I’m not saying he was born a Saint, but if an angel had shown up in his time of need, or a wizard, or anybody not dripping evil from every pustulent pore, he’d be a force for good at least as strong as any of us.”

“Black cat’s bring bad luck to those around him, not themselves, James.”

“I know father. I still think he can be saved, though. I just wish… each step down the dark ladder makes it that much harder. But I didn’t come here to complain.

They’ve put a price on his head. An atheme – some kind of ritual knife – and it lets faeries break the rules. We think it was Skavis, but we can’t prove it, and we’ve already paid a price for assumptions. Anyway, the bounty brought all sorts of critters out from the woodwork. He got attacked by elves with sniper rifles and disappearing bullets instead of cookies and presents, magical goblin cretins, and a sneaky-ass cat that could barely drag his burning corpse.

The long-and-short of it was that we got suckered into Cait’s territory, and banished into the realm of winter, a cold but nonetheless lethal frying pan, which might have been our doom. The fire, it turns out, was a Dragon that claimed to be Trevor’s sponsor’s sire.

I have his mark, here, copied from where he marked me his.”

That caught them both off guard.

“MPI doesn’t cooperate with Trevor because of his allegiance. If you’ve joined their side…”

“Let me finish, Chief. The dragon commanded me to protect Trevor’s, and by consequence his patron’s, reputation.

Trevor, now, has decided he wants to be a lover not a fighter, so his patron told him he needs to fix his hastily-laid deals from a month ago. Luachra was willing to concede if Cait would return her portion too, both kept in the same condition they’re in now. I helped him negotiate such that Cait gave Trev back as much as she had gotten, in exchange for some different property, sealing both deals.

That was the easy part. Trevor values Luachra’s favor more than Cait’s, and so decided to risk his life binding the Winter ley line to him, as Luachra had asked. I doubted his ability, and so was brave enough to remove the mark from myself so that the Dragon who found us wouldn’t see when I sent a message to Trevor’s patron regarding his need for aid. I’m not sure what, if anything, the patron did, but it was obviously sufficient, as Trevor has been successful.

This concerns me most because I fear that winter’s touch, a time of dying, will influence Trevor to be more carelessly violent than before. I may need all the aid both of you can spare. And whatever I said of bravery, I’m not foolhardy enough to forsake my oath to a draconic power regarding trevor. I mean to guide him as best I can.

Let us pray it is enough.”

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Two Super Short Summaries
In one place

Summary I should have written earlier 1

An unknown entity offered a reward for Trevor’s head, specifically a faery athame. As a result, creatures start coming out of the woodwork to try and collect the bounty. After a bit of investigating, and numerous assaults, James is eventually capture by goblins. The goblins use James to lure Trevor onto Winter territory, hoping Kate Sith with remove Trevor’s invincibility for them. Kate waits until the goblins are dispatched before making her appearance, then cuts the two men off from direct retreat, heals them, and offers them an escape path through the nevernever. Kate reveals that it was not her who put out the bounty, hints that it was Kristina Skavis, and then tells the boys that her hatred against them both is expended. James and Trevor escape from Winter with the help of an ancient unknown dragon that seems to be related to Trevor’s patron, and both are marked by the event.

Summary I should have written earlier 2

Trevor’s patron arrives, embarrassed and furious, to deliver an ultimatum. If Trevor does not regain all of the territory he gave away in 30 days, his invulnerability will be removed. Trevor begins long convoluted negotiations that don’t gain him much, while James starts researching a way to remove the dragon mark on him. In the middle of this, a man named Nicodemus shows up and offers both men a way out. Eventually, James breaks the link himself; while Trevor digs himself deeper in debt playing political games he doesn’t seem to understand.

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The Drawing of the 6 (7)
Filling the Cabinet

Presented with a handful of prospective retainers, Trevor begins to gather his “captains” (though no one else seems willing to call them that). The Count in Crimson begins hiring his picks as quickly as he can, and with as little input from his new majordomo or anyone else. Some take their leave to deal with their living arrangements, and the more mundane individuals take Trevor longer to make a deal with and need longer to arrive at Dragon County. In a hurry to get back the last ten percent of his territory before the approaching deadline, Trevor decides to travel to Kang’s territory with those minions he already has at hand…

Meanwhile, aspiring wizard James starts seriously digging into an investigation he was hired to perform. His pursuit brings him into conversation with Father Mulcahey, who all but solves the case for him. James schedules a further meeting with the priest to discuss matters of faith. After consulting with his “mentor” Janeane about how to turn in his findings, eventually James decides on a measured evasiveness towards his unknown employer that he is satisfied with and turns in the job. Cherberus pays James and lets him know that there was a hidden bonus that he didn’t qualify for, but doesn’t reveal any details. James heads back to talk to Father Mulcahey about faith, magic, and a number of other subjects.

On his way to see Kang, Trevor is hit by a powerful spell. Arthur Pyke calls the first person in Trevor’s phone (James), and he and Charles Conrad guard Trevor until the mage can arrive. James identifies the attack as a powerful entropy curse designed to keep Trevor incapacitated, and decides they should all return to Trevor’s home. There James carefully deconstructs the spell, only to find that a coven of black clad individuals were constructing a magical trap while he worked. Now everyone in the building is trapped inside a magical dome that feels oddly soothing to the magically aware. James escapes to the Nevernever with Charles, only to find himself in a draconic palace and escapes there to find himself in New York. With his magic wielding friend not able to return in time, Trevor finds himself locked in a battle of will against a powerful spell designed to rebirth the dragon Siriothrax. Unable to resist the spell on his own, Trevor calls on the power of his Denarius, the Winter ley line, and a forbidden spell provided by his knowledge spirit friend George.

In the aftermath, Trevor accepts the fealty of the defeated and broken dragon-cultist/sorcerer Gregor. By the time James arrives, the situation is resolved and Trevor somewhat blithely ignores James’ warnings against keeping individuals like Jeremiah Wells and Gregor around. James refuses to stay at the tower while such men live there, and reports Gregor to Janeane, to be reported to the Wardens. Doctor Jack Carroll and female butler Sylvia Ulric finally arrive and take up residence in Dragon Tower.

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Dark Roads Lead to Dead Bodies
Don't Start Nothing, There Won't Be Nothing

Personal Log,

I was given the information that a holy crusader would be coming to town to deliver me from my evil ways. I met this man, Sanya, a giant Russian with a holy sword and an attitude to use it. He offered me a chance to become something different. I took it and sent my organization into a temporary state of confusion. After dealing with some evil members of my group, I found that my death would follow without support from something bigger and decided that Giorgiel was my best bet of staying clear of the fallout of leaving my patron. After dealing with a vampire menace, I decided that I would continue to hold the domain that I had put so much time into. With a renewed sense of purpose, I gained the general I needed to launch the attack that removed a major chess piece from the board. Though now I question if I truly know what pieces are on the board. It would appear that some pieces are moving to counter my moves versus those that are moving pieces to see my unintentionally bring about the end of days. At the moment we are celebrating and enjoying this moment of freedom from the greater evils of the world. Let’s hope that I don’t become one of them.

~T. S.

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Changing Lanes
How many dark roads must a man walk down?

Having slipped his Draconic leash in favor of a sponsor with a looser grip, Trevor throws a three day party celebrating his “freedom from the greater evils of the world.” Meanwhile, Cherberus presents James with an offer from the elusive Fomori Court to recruit Trevor, who they seem to believe is now unaffiliated. James conveys this offer to Trevor as an alternative to the Denarian. Giorgiel encourages Trevor to sign up for the extra power and connections, but Trevor feels that his hold over his own will is tenuous enough already and swearing fealty to another supernatural power might stretch him beyond his limits. Trevor doesn’t want to abandon Giorgiel, so he turns down the offer. James starts searching for a way to save Trevor from his indebtedness to Giorgiel.

James also begins meeting with a friend of his father’s, the warlock Henry Engel, for lessons he wouldn’t receive from the White Council. Not wanting to violate the laws, James opts to start with mental defense training. James then spends the week practicing what he learned, while Trevor prepares for a party, ostensibly in his honor, being thrown by the vampiric White Court. At the party, Trevor is introduced to the new head of the White Court in Detroit, Caden Malvora, and is subtly fed upon by Lara Raith. Everyone present denies the depredation and potential violation of hospitality, but Trevor felt parts of himself slipping away and came away with a longing for further contact with Lara even though he is certain it could be fatal.

Eventually, Trevor realizes he is not going to be able to convert Giorgiel to good, which he was foolishly hoping to do, and more importantly that the previously casual relationship ended when he drew permanent power into himself from the coin. The fact that he was no longer the master of his own mind and will, a greater bondage than Atharhax had inflicted, greatly troubled Trevor. He begins to do charity and gave away his new manor and all of Jeremiah Wells cash reserves; but even his attempts to do good works don’t go as planned. Knowing that Giorgiel can override his will makes Trevor realize that the only reason he didn’t know how much power the fallen angel had over him earlier was because his own choices and actions were not opposed to the Denarians’ goal. That goal being apocalypse, both now and ultimately. Trevor commits to freeing himself of the Denarian and asks James for help.

Trevor makes every preparation he can, most of it feeble and worthless; while James goes to the church and Father Mulcahey for aid. Giorgiel exploits every weakness in Trevor’s will, but with every once of his will and pride, along with aid from his friend, Trevor manages to drop the coin. The blacked denari is then recovered by the church, Trevor signs on with the mysterious Fomor, and James is invited to White Council headquarters to take the test to be a wizard.

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A Blue Stole
Entry into the halls of Wizardry

James Rutherford III heads to Edinburgh to become a full Wizard, and Trevor Smith tags along to witness and make a deal between the White Council and the Fomor. Trevor brokers a deal that gets goodwill for the Fomor and opens ways through the Fomor regions of the Nevernever for Wizard use. As he waits for the tests, James encounters the Gatekeeper. The Gatekeeper presents James’ father’s watch as delivered for him and informs James that the Gatekeeper will not be voting in his favor. James had purposefully left the watch behind and begun to enchant a new focus item, because it was featured in the vision he had of his own death. Now James finds himself with the watch on his person in the dark headquarters of the White Council surrounded by black-robed wizards and gray-cloaked wardens, any of which could be the figures from his Vision of My Own Death.

James fails Ancient Mai’s test of Earth Magic, which is a weak point in his studies of magic. The Gatekeeper simply goes down the line pronouncing who passed his “test,” and James is surprised when he passes. Aleron LaFortier soulgazes each candidate, and tells James he passes because he is willing to do what is necessary while maintaining the restraint to not go too far. James manages to disable the test wards the Merlin, Arthur Langtry, set before the students. James passes two of three sections of Martha Liberties test of practical use of veils, which she says is good enough. Listens to Wind puts forth sick animals to be cured, and James flushes sepsis from a cat’s intestines but doesn’t mend the internal wound. Listens to Wind heals the cat the rest of the way, and gives James a pass and the cat. James names the cat Shadow. James passes the Anastasia Luccio, Captain of the Warden’s test by applying a trick Giorgiel had once used against him. Ebenezer McCoy presents a test of honesty and integrity rather than skill or knowledge, which James quickly fails. White Council chief secretary Peabody gives a difficult written test, which James passes with a 72%. Finally, the Toymaker Klaus Schneider simply asks each candidate why they want to be a wizard. Klaus is satisfied with James’ answer, and having passed 8 out of 10 tests, James is one of two apprentices to graduate to full wizardhood and receive a blue stole.

After a brief celebration, James and Trevor return home, and Trevor begins to set up his new houseboat/headquarters.

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Winter Gives Way to...
A New Day

Wet Hot Faerie Summer

As Summer approaches, the Summer Court retakes all the territory it had once been given by Trevor, territory that had been entrusted to him in exchange for a deal he thenbroke. Summer Fae manage to expand all of those areas, and take significant chunks of Kate Sith‘s territory as well. Winter is left with only pockets in the city where it is closest to the Winter regions of the Faerie. None of this seems to phase Trevor’s masters, whose messengers seem content with his status reports and give no new directions for him. Trevor fights to hold on, based on his own desire to maintain his holdings and status in Detroit’s supernatural community.

As the economy worsens, more factories, schools, hospitals, stores, and the rest close down, possibly forever. The previous miasma of dread and despair that things weren’t getting better gives way to outright fear that things are going to get a lot worse. Gang activity increases. More and more of the people who can leave do. Adding to the fear, a serial killer seemed to be on the loose in the city, but almost as quickly as he appeared on the news the police denounced the reports and claimed the killings were all independent and gang related. The case was quietly passed to MPI. On top of all of this, supernatural predators now haunt the night feeding on the populace’s fear. For the citizens of Detroit, things have only gotten worse.

Wizard Shakeup

Shocking the entire White Council, Aleron LaFortier was murdered in his quarters within the most heavily guarded section of the White Council’s headquarters under Edinburgh. After a two day manhunt, long by wizard standards, and a short trial Warden Donald Morgan is executed for the crime. The trial was more eventful than anyone present is willing to admit, because a number of wizards and warden present to witness, officiate, or give testimony died. The White Council has released no information on what happened to those who weren’t there, and those who were seem sworn to secrecy. In another shocking move, the eldest wizard was passed up without explanation in choosing a replacement for the Senior Council seat. LaFortier’s protege, Gregori Cristos, takes the seat instead of Klaus Schneider, or a number of more senior wizards.

James continues taking care of the cat, Shadow, to no noticeable effect, while training with his father’s friend on building defenses against the supernatural dangers the White Council won’t talk to apprentices or junior wizards about. He also hears about the rumors and excitement (mostly hostile) about Harry Dresden performing a “Sanctum Invocation,” which appears to be exactly what James wants to do at Belle Isle. Janeane explains, when asked, that such an act is quite different from either binding a Ley line or becoming a shaman and “spirit partner.” The Sanctum Invocation is simply a magically reinforced claim that a location is the wizard’s home. It requires a non-hostile location with a significant magical charge, and most wizards who do so use their own homes, towers, or sanctuaries where they have spent a lifetime practicing magic.

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Foreign Eye

James and Trevor go see MPI, who is hesitantly willing to trust Trevor now that he is no longer affiliated with a Dragon or Demon, and are briefed on two cases MPI has been unable to crack. A serial killer has been stalking the city since winter, and at the beginning of the month seven people were murdered and their bodies destroyed in one bloody weekend. MPI hands the two copies of all the case files, and they both head out to investigate.

Trevor is diverted by his new cantrev lord, Balor; the new form taken by the being that had been AlpLuachra. Balor sends Trevor to recover his long lost eye from a lake in Ireland. James continues the case for a day before getting a call to come to Elysium, where he is offered a job from the Fomor to stop Balor from retrieving his eye. Taking a much fast way through Faerie to Edinburgh then following another wizard to Ireland, James arrives in County Sligo at the same time as Trevor.

The two of them wander a bit and ask help from the locals before finding the lake, which is now a dry mud flat. Trevor’s connection to the Fomor and power from an Oath James swears to Trevor (to use this situation to improve Trevor’s standing with the Fomori Court), allow the two to draw down a monsoon to fill the lake. James convinced Trevor to let him transport the eye, and then subsequently loses the eye when the Summer Lady appears and claims it. Balor is angered at Trevor’s failure, and confused by his half-considered lies.

Back on the case, James and Trevor manage to identify the serial killer as Lorenzo Valentino, Trevor’s ghostly spy. The two of them manage to kill the ghost on it’s own home turf and Trevor claims the demesne as his own. Summer begins to send a series of increasingly dangerous agents after Trevor, and he quickly finds himself hiding out in his new demesne; leaving James to investigate the other killings on his own. James manages to identify the culprit as a Loup-Garou, a rare and extremely dangerous kind of werewolf, but everyone he calls about it just warns him to stay away.

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