Campaign of the Month: May 2021

Baghdad on the Bayou

Hunter on the Hunt

In the which he finds a new friend and cleans the city of some unsavory elements

After the exciting events of David’s wedding, I had hoped that maybe summer would pass without too much supernatural mayhem here in The Crescent City. Summer is always a huge tourist time, and there are music and food events happening all over the city practically every weekend. There’s always something amiss, but a guy can hope, you know?

After getting home from David’s place, I figured that I had better do some remedial work with Greer’s new beau (Ha!), Beaumont. Things went mostly fine between us at the wedding, but the situation between us was a little more tense than I would have liked it to be, considering how close he and Greer seem to be getting. Admittedly, I was mostly to blame for that. I’m more protective toward Greer than I clearly need to be. I mean, she’s an accomplished police woman and has dealt with bigger threats than I’d like to think about, especially while I was away in the military and at The War, and she can certainly handle an amorous baker here and there should the need arise. Buuut, at the end of the day, she’s my cousin, my little sister for all intents and purposes, and I gotta be me. I’ve felt protective of her ever since we were kids and I had a kissing-cousin, puppy-love crush on her. When she first came to live with us, I remember one day thinking that big, strong, eighteen-year old me would save her from the bullies on the football field, when a few of the JV football dicks thought they’d give the new girl a hard time. Before I could even cross the field, though, she had one of them screaming in pain on the ground, another one howling with a broken and bloody nose, and the third one in a half-Nelson screaming a startled “Uncle!” like his life depended on it, which, to be fair, maybe wasn’t so off the mark. I rushed up to “save” her, and she just growled an angry “What?!” in my direction. The assistant coach came up and saved the “bullies” and I learned my lesson about how much protection Greer really needs. Aunt Addie apparently passed on a lot of what she knew.

So I wasn’t too concerned about Greer when it came to Beaumont. She got a pretty lousy record with men, but Beaumont seemed like good folk. I’ve known the LeBlanc family since I was a kid and Dad took me with him one time to visit them at their bakery. “Greatest fournomancers you’ll ever meet in your life. Not much good in combat, but they’ll keep seven armies well-fed and happy about it.” I met Beaumont back then, before he had even come into his power, but we were just kids and I doubt he remembers it. He’s four years younger than me, just a year older than Greer, and so I’m sure it wasn’t anything worth remembering.
That notwithstanding, I found out about how close they were at the wedding, when I overheard them talking about whether or not to share a room. That kind of involvement caught my attention pretty fast, and I fell a little bit into old habits…until Greer’s growl reminded me of the football field all those years ago, and I backed off. Besides, other things, uh, kind of took my attention.

In any case, I figured that spending some time with Beaumont couldn’t do anybody any harm, and I asked him out to lunch at this great new creole restaurant in the Montleone, called Criollo. He met me there, and we had a great time. One funny thing happened while we were sitting there in the lobby chatting before heading in to eat. The hotel GM, a guy I know named Layne, walked past us and started screaming when he saw Beaumont. Beaumont calmed him down, and had a quick, quiet conversation with him away from the staring guests. When he came back, he was a little embarrassed and said something about an experience at the hotel earlier this year. That gave us plenty to talk about at dinner, and by the time we were done, we had a bottle of wine in us, were laughing our fool heads off, and were great friends. The guy knows his stuff. He doesn’t know all about Greer yet, but that’s her story to find out and tell, and when he hears it he’ll be fine.

Being a little…loose from the wine, we decided the best thing we could possibly do would be to go and let Greer know that we were besties. We showed up at her house, and kind of forgot that it was pretty far from wizard proofed. An cabernet-fueled, overly excited conversation and a shorted-out microwave later, Greer booted us vagrants out of her house and we’ve been doing things together ever since.

I wound up being grateful for that friendship just a week or so later. I received word that there were some dark magicians doing some seriously dark magic. It turns out this seemingly normal couple had hired one of the dancers at this seedy strip club down on Bourbon Street to come to their place over in Kenner, by the airport, for “a private party”. She left with them, but didn’t show back up to her apartment or work the next day, and one of the girls that I, uh, know, asked me to find her. I guess she figured us big military types can go all Liam Neeson on people and just Find people out of nowhere. I got a weird vibe off of the case and asked Beaumont to come help me out. That guy can do tracking spells like he was born to it. Good thing I did, because it took some real effort to find what was left of this girl. We tracked her clear over to the freaking Mississippi shore line, over by Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian. We found her weighted remains in a bag down in the silt. It was horrible. These monsters had cut her up in six pieces after stabbing her to death. Everything was in the bag except for her forearms and her tattoos, which had all been cut off. I immediately remembered a grotesque ritual we had caught some vamps doing over in the middle east, and realized we had far more than a missing girl on our hands.

We had to leave the remains for the mortals to find, which just about killed Beaumont, but it was important that we not be involved, and that our names not get splashed in the papers. We had no way to explain how we knew the body was there, and if we were going to find these creeps, which the vanilla cops couldn’t do, we couldn’t let them know we were onto them. Greer was all the way over in Louisiana, so it was hell and gone out of her jurisdiction, and we had to just leave her. Sometimes it sucks to be a wizard.

Beaumont and I were pretty riled up at this point, and spent weeks looking into what had happened. We discovered that the strip club was being run by white court vampires, which was not shocking, and that they were occasionally sending off their “select” girls to some of their magic-using cousins for fun and profit. Let me tell you something. You have never seen a flame of righteously indignant rage like came off of Beaumont when that came to light. I thought I saw some harsh, angry warriors in the Red Court war, but it was nothing compared to what Beaumont brought out when we found the bad guys.

It was the day after the Fourth of July when we eventually tracked these white court sorcerers down to their hideout in the remains of the old Grand Palace Hotel. I had had a nice barbecue with the family the night before, watching the fireworks out over the water. It was a peaceful night, and even Mom wasn’t over-the-top like normal. I think Dad, who was home from Edinburgh for the holiday and knew I would be coming over, had mellowed her out with one of his famous juleps before I arrived. Greer was gone, off celebrating the day with Beaumont and keeping him off of Mom’s radar, I suspected, incorrectly as it turned out. That night around two in the morning, I was in my apartment, sleeping peacefully, when I was awakened by a loud banging at the door. The war has left me shaky about loud and sudden nighttime noises, so I popped immediately awake. It was Beaumont. Somehow he’d gotten a lead on the sorcerers that had taken the Lockhart girl, and knew that they were in the old abandoned hotel.

We spent the rest of the night and the next morning prepping, gathering backup, and casing the hotel. We put all of our equipment together, and I showed Beaumont a little bit about potion making, so we could make a potion to sneak in undetected. He showed me a little bit about what a gifted person can do with veils, making there be very little need for potions. I got together some local wardens that could come help clear out a nest, including some old buddies from Afghanistan, because experience counts no matter what color court the nasties belong to. We found the plans for the hotel in city records, so we knew what it would look like when we got in, and drove to the site with the team to scope it out and prepared for a silent breach.

We arrived in the late evening, when any mortals that were working there would have gone home, but before local vandals would start showing up to “urban explore”. We entered the building through a broken doorway on the ground level, and worked our way up to the top. We went slow and thorough, and made contact with the first group on the fifth floor. There was no stealth after that.

My boys and I got to exercise some of our old vampire-killing muscles, but my “green” friend Beaumont who I thought I would have to take under my wing was like a professional, but with Epic rage. He passed up a number of my old team, but never once got in the way. The vamps on the lower floors were just guards, we fought through them without too much trouble.

By the time we got to the next to the last floor, we had them on the run. That’s when we found the ones that got Jaren. We recognized the tattooed skin on the walls from photographs we had studied, and the ritual marks on the floor. These vampires were tough, and fought like nothing I had ever seen. In the middle of the fight, Beaumont got himself cornered by a bunch of the vamps and it looked like he was in a bad spot. The vamps were smiling, until HE smiled, and then let loose a wave of flame and rage that was stunning to watch. He immolated a half dozen of the creatures in an instant, and turned the floor into an inferno. He had drawn them in intentionally, and was actually standing near a doorway that led up to the top floor. He signaled us, and then ran up to the roof.

Once Beaumont pulled his fire trick, there were still a half dozen more hungry, angry, singed other white-courts on the floor. It was time, I decided, to pull out the All-father staff. If I had had the time, I would have cast a magic circle around the vampires, and lit up everything in the circle. The thing that startled me, is that I did have time for it. With the speed of thought, just like my normal battle spells, I imagined a circle of power around the vampires, I pointed at it and drew the imaginary line with the staff, and then…I fueled it. Lightning exploded from each of the vampires. Light and electricity flew from their fingers and eyes, and they turned instantly into ash. What Beaumont had done was impressive, but what I just did? That was something more. It was…stunning, and my fire team was staring at me with something between giddy joy and horror. There will be a need to figure out the implications of wielding this thing. But I could tell…Odin was pleased.

I ran up to the roof where we all met up again. I got there in time to catch Beaumont and drag him up from his knees. Heavy magic takes a toll. Well, unless Odin is the one fueling it. He had completely exhausted himself with his inferno trick, but the vamps were gone. The building, though, was burning wildly below us. Fortunately, I had one more trick up my sleeve.

My old friend Frankie Bouchard is an amazing wizard with superb control over earth and gravity. Without saying a word to Beaumont, we ran toward the edge of the building and…simply jumped off. We laughed while Beaumont screamed as we fell past the flaming floors of the now vampire-free building. The firemen were already arriving on scene around the front of the building, but we were able to sneak away to where there were not yet observers around the back.

And that’s mostly it. My new friend was a little crispy around the edges, and needed to rest for a day or two before he felt up to walking around the city again. Behind the scenes, I worked with some of our contacts in the city government, and a few weeks later the building was demolished. With some of our wardens’ special help, the whole building came down in less than 10 seconds. Give a wizard time to prepare, and there’s not much we can turn into dust, vampires or buildings.

We hit up the ESSENCE music festival that weekend, and got to hear Aretha Franklin sing. That little comedian, Kevin Hart, even performed. After a few days resting up and getting back to normal, I decided to do the San Fermin, New Orleans’s own version of Spain’s running of the bulls. There were more than 10,000 of us running through the streets being chased by “bulls,” who were actually roller derby girls, on skates and dressed up with horned hats, who had shown up from around the country to chase us fools with plastic bats. It was hilarious, and a great light-hearted relief to the stress of the previous few months.

I had one last brief adventure at the Vampire Film Festival spin-off, Midsummer Nightmare, that same weekend. A little touch of work seems to just follow me around no matter what I’m doing, though, so it was no surprise that I had some supernatural duties to take of there, too. I got to see my friend Jean at her bar during a haunted pub crawl, though, so I was able to use some of her help too.

Everything is pretty calm right now, but I have to say, I’m a more than a little concerned about the hurricane season this year. There’s nothing out there at the moment, but I have a bad feeling that the weather is going to turn bad, and the Fomor seem to be acting a little too quiet in all the wrong places right now. I guess time will tell, but I think we’ll have an interesting month.


guyredshirt mhambster