- After she escapes from the hospital, believing Daisha dead or worse, Becca decides that the only people she can trust right now are Tyne (who was waiting for Daisha outside the hospital) and Beckett. Tyne is very nervous about Beckett, since the New York enclave hasn’t had good relations with the vampire since Becca’s disappearance—things have been coldly cordial at best, mostly in the interests of preventing a war and too much entanglement with the New York Hunters under Braedon (and later Weston) Chandler or the growing UNSETIC presence in the area.
- Inability to get answers from the New York enclave has Brigid and UNSETIC turning to the next nearest enclave that they have good relations with—the Fredericksburg enclave, five and a half hours south, and their magus contact there, Trey Wolfe. This will at least slightly annoy the New York enclave, resulting in a very strongly “worded” suggestion that UNSETIC back off—which draws the attention of a particular priest in a particular parish.
- John (and Adam and Roiya) find Spiritscrossing (just before the book begins, maybe as the prologue unless there’s a Becca/Ioan scene as the prologue)
- Seth arrives to head up the investigation (off-camera)
- El Stone is called in from the Boston office to assist (still under the purview of Brigid O’Connell as regional lead for the eastern seaboard)
- Stone is one of the few supernatural experts UNSETIC has that doesn’t specialize in other things, nor is she completely embroiled in that world herself (ie, she’s not a magus, psychic, etc. – just a parapsychologist and paranormal researcher)
- Becca has already been found by the time El arrives. Seth (an MD by this point) has determined that there doesn’t seem to be anything physically wrong with her. They are in the process of confirming her ID but trying to keep the process quiet.
- After they figure out who she probably is, the question of whether to keep her there or send her elsewhere comes up. El suggests sending her to one of the nearest offices (Vancouver or Seattle), but Seth vetoes the idea, electing instead to get his former colleague Jade involved, asking the chief medical officer for the eastern seaboard to come and pick up Becca and bring her back to NYC. Brigid clears the request and within days of being found, Becca is brought back to New York, where things start to get really interesting.
- In the meantime, a coven in Fredericksburg has been engaged in attempting to locate not only Becca Reid but the pack that she used to run with—specifically, her mate, the pack’s alpha, Ioan. One of them does realize that Becca’s popped back onto the map, but there’s a delay in that information getting relayed due to issues occurring in Fredericksburg at the time.
- Information relayed to the Central Park enclave (and Daisha) instead of Beckett?
- Brigid and AJ try to talk to the Central Park enclave but end up pretty well stonewalled. One of AJ’s students, Tyne, is part of the enclave and hustles them clear before anyone can get hurt.
- After Brigid and AJ’s trip to the enclave, Daisha shows up and talks with Tyne, recruiting the girl’s assistance in trying to find out what UNSETIC knows about Becca and her location.
- Daisha and Beckett have a minor confrontation at the Meeting Place, Brigid’s bar in Spanish Harlem and the front for UNSETIC’s headquarters in New York. This sets Brigid wholly on edge and sets her to wondering exactly how much backup she’s going to need to call in here—and if she’s looking down the barrel of some kind of war over one woman who’s been missing for sixteen years (sixteen years exactly).
- Tim’s been caught up in some kind of dust-up that captures his attention for most of the early part of the story, meaning Brigid doesn’t have his expertise to lean on (which is probably a good thing given the situation at hand). Bryn has been tied up on the same issue (less helpful to Brigid).
- Daisha infiltrates the hospital where Becca’s being monitored and returns an artifact to her friend before jumping out a window. She is attacked by something after leaving the room and Becca wakes to hearing her howls.
The notes from today and yesterday is actually a background scene, set in September 2021, in Fredericksburg, VA. Cassidy Beckett seeks some help from some rather unusual sources…
Just Another Day in Fredericksburg
Location – café and coffee shop owned and operated by Kasey Greene Lord
The bell on the door jingled and Vellin tensed across the table from me, jaw tightening. “We have company,” he murmured, though he didn’t turn. I leaned sideways slightly, looking past him to the door. My brow furrowed slightly.
“I didn’t think they could walk around in daylight,” he continued. “Is it who I think it is?”
“In the flesh.” My chair scraped quietly against the floor as I stood up. It was early evening in Fredericksburg, the sun starting to slowly sink lower but full dark was still hours away. “Are you going to pick her brain?”
“Fuck no,” Vellin muttered. “I don’t have a death wish.”
“I’m sorry if I’m interrupting something,” Beckett said quietly, closing the door behind her. She moved away from the windows even as I walked forward, drawing some more of the shades. The vampire shot me a relieved smile as she took off her hat and sunglasses. “Thank you. The clouds help but it’s still difficult.”
“Have you been here since last night?” I asked, a ripple of shock fluttering through my guts. New York wasn’t an impossible drive, but it wasn’t exactly a short one, either—Vellin and his wife, my best friend, knew that very well, since it was a trip they’d made almost every weekend for four years after their summertime wedding nearly ten years ago. Vellin had gotten into Columbia’s law school and none of us had been willing to let him give that up.
I couldn’t imagine how Beckett could have made the trip down during daylight hours, though.
She gave me a smile that was thin, but real. “Since about an hour before dawn. I rested for most of the day and as soon as I felt it was dark enough, I came looking. You have children; I thought maybe it would be best to find you before full dark considering by the time it’s actually dark you’ll both likely be home for family dinner.”
She was right, though I was almost loathe to admit it. Sam had just taken our youngest with him when he’d gone to pick up the twins and Harrison from school, leaving me and Vellin alone at the coffee shop to talk Conclave business. Kasey would be doing the same, along with half a dozen of our other friends.
Truth be known, Beckett had picked the perfect time to show up without drawing too much attention to herself.
“You want something,” Vellin said. It wasn’t a question and I barely managed to suppress a wince at the slight edge to his tone.
Then again, he and Kasey both knew her better than I did in a lot of ways. Kasey had spent most of Vellin’s time at Columbia working at Beckett’s store in Hell’s Kitchen, keeping an eye on Order business—among other things—in the five boroughs while still somehow managing to keep up with the politics back here at home.
“You always were direct, Lord,” Beckett said, though her lips quirked into a slight smile. “How’s Mara?”
“She’s fine,” Vellin said. “What brought you here, Dr. Beckett? You don’t drive five and a half hours without warning for a social call.”
My gaze slid toward Vellin, lips momentarily thinning before I forced myself to relax. His magic was up and I could feel it—but then again, my shields had snapped into place as soon as I’d seen her coming through the door.
It wasn’t that I necessarily saw the vampire as a threat, but it never hurt to be careful.
“I have a favor to ask,” Beckett said, then sighed quietly. “Can we sit?”
I nodded, motioning to a nearby table. Vellin’s jaw tightened, but he followed my lead, taking a seat with his back to the wall even as Beckett settled into the chair across from him, leaving me facing the door.
“What did you come to ask us for?”
She stared at me for a few seconds, as if she was still processing my question. Then she cleared her throat. “It’s been ten years since she disappeared,” she said softly. “It’s been ten years since anyone’s heard anything from Rebecca Reid.”
My stomach gave an uncomfortable twist. She and I—all of us—had spoken on the subject over the years. “Dr. Beckett, we’ve tried to scry for her before and there hasn’t been a trace. The New York enclave doesn’t know anything? There hasn’t been any sort of changes? That’s where her pack is from and they would know—word would come to them before it reached any of us down here.”
“I know, I know,” she said. “And I didn’t come down here to ask you to try to scry for her again. It’s something different this time.”
Vellin eyed her. “What?”
“The New York enclave won’t listen to me, doesn’t trust me, and I can’t blame them. They still think I had something to do with Becca’s disappearance even though I didn’t and that sentiment has only gotten worse as time’s gone on. I can’t go to them and ask them what I’m going to ask of you and the enclave here in Fredericksburg.”
I felt another uncomfortable flutter and made eye contact with Vellin, though only for a second. He frowned and gave me an almost imperceptible nod.
“Then ask,” I said. “The worst I can say is no but you realize that I don’t speak for the enclave, right?”
“Only when they ask you to,” she said, her voice grave. “I need you to find Ioan Adam Griffon. Find the alpha and you’ll find the rest of them—or at the very least, a trace of her. As much as he and I didn’t like or trust each other, the one thing we agreed on was her and I know that he would never willingly let anything happen to her. Find him and you will find them. I’m sure of it.”
“What makes you think we can do that?” Vellin’s voice was heavy with skepticism and suspicion—and more doubt than I’d heard in his voice in a long time.
“I don’t know if you can,” she admitted. “But I also think that out of anyone, you have the best shot and frankly, you are my only shot. Please. I will beg if I need to. All I ask is that you try.”
“We’ll have to talk about it,” I said, fighting the sinking feeling in my stomach. It would probably end in some kind of argument, but at the end of the day, Vellin and I both knew what was going to happen, no matter how much we argued about whether or not we should or would.
We would do it—we’d find a way to at least try to help.
“You’ll owe us a favor,” he said.
Beckett smiled. “If you find him, I’ll owe you more than that. How long will you need to discuss it?”
“Give us a couple of days,” I said. “It’s not like we need to talk to one person. There’s a lot of moving parts.”
“Fewer here than in New York,” she said softly. “I’ll be back at the end of the week. Thank you, Wolf Shaman. Thank you, Lord.”
She stood from the table, donning her hat and sunglasses again before she stepped out the door, the bell’s jingle marking her departure, an oddly cheery sound in the wake of our conversation.
I looked at Vellin. “Have you talked to Solace about her at all?”
“Not recently. Not since the last time.” He took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. “We’ll have to call the Conclave.”
“And I’ll have to talk to the pack.” I rubbed at my temple and shook my head slightly. “Life gets complicated whenever she shows up. Just when I think that maybe we’ll have a moment’s peace, something new.”
“We could have retired,” Vellin said, then cracked a grin. I punched him in the arm as I stood up.
“No one’s ever going to let that happen, Nick. You and I both know that.”
He just shook his head. “We can dream, right?” The smile faded. “What do you make of it, Haley?”
“Of any of it.”
I shrugged. “At the end of the day, she came asking for our help because there’s someone out there that needs it. I think you and I both agree on that piece of it.”
He nodded. “The Conclave’s going to be edgy about it.”
“So’s the pack. But she’s played everything straight thus far. Inches and miles, right?”
“Yeah,” he said quietly. “Inches and miles.”
I squeezed his shoulder and he smiled again, reaching up to cover my hand with his.
“I’ll see you later, okay?”
He nodded. “We still have to finish the conversation we started before Dr. Beckett got here. I do want to know how they’re doing.”
I smirked. “If you weren’t so concerned about the way your wife looked at him, I’d invite he and his sister down for a refresher course.”
Vellin snorted. “Are they still trying to recruit us?”
“It didn’t sound like it,” I said, then smiled. “Why, disappointed?”
“Fuck no,” he said, then grinned. “Though it’s flattering to be wanted.”
“Don’t you have a brief you should be working on?”
“Probably. Invitation for dinner tomorrow night still stands?”
I nodded, fixing the shades before I made my way to the door. “You and Kasey are in charge of dessert.”
“You bake better than I do.”
“Then bring ice cream.”
“Five-thirty. After soccer practice.”
He flashed me a thumbs up and I waved on my way out the door.
Just another day in Fredericksburg.
- Daisha will do anything to help Becca.
- Tyne never knew Becca before she was brought back to New York. Her uncle, Lars, used to be associated in Becca’s father in the past, which is part of what drew Tyne to New York—that and her uncle’s recent disappearance.
- Magi in New York (or perhaps just closer to the Alberta site) feel some kind of ripple when the enchantments finally break?
- The facility near Spiritscrossing that the Lost Pack went to investigate and shut down was linked to Bachmann-Koch, but a different division from the one that Brigid was nearly killed investigating.
- UNSETIC has developed an understanding of a lot of supernatural forces in their world, but it has taken time for the new regional lead to forge connections with some of the more traditionally insular groups—such as the nahuali. There were some incidents under the command of the former regional lead that have made the enclave in Central Park very gun-shy when it comes to the organization.
- In contrast, UNSTEIC has connections to one of the more powerful vampires in New York, though they don’t have the ear of the current Primarch or most of his court. Cassidy Beckett, a largely independent but well-respected figure within the New York Brethren, has been their contact for several years, initially through then-Detectives Ryce Marshall and Jesse Stole, who later introduced her to other members of UNSETIC in the region.
- Cassidy and Becca knew each other in college, before Cassidy was brought across by Andras Cross. Their friendship remained despite Cassidy’s transformation and Becca’s disappearance has always deeply bothered Cassidy, who long suspected foul play but had no way to prove it.
Timeline of events immediately before the beginning of the story
- John McCullough heads out for a pre-semester camping trip with his niece, Roiya Kanton, and her partner, Adam “Decker” Ford, Jr., in Alberta, Canada. The trip is half training exercise, half vacation for the two young UNSETIC recruits, both slated to start their freshman year of college at NYU within weeks of their trip.
- The enchantments woven over the town of Spiritscrossing finally break down.
- Seth Montgomery is sent in to lead the investigation team. He is normally assigned to one of UNSETIC’s Washington, DC office, part of Brigid O’Connell’s region.
Notes for Day 10 and 11
Rebecca Ariel Reid (RA/Becca)
Eleanor Stone (Ellie)
Daisha Copeland (Rainsong)
Adam Ford, Jr. (Decker)
Roiya Kanton (Spooks)
Orestes St. Cyr?
- The nahuali and UNSETIC are working in parallel but also at cross-purposes when it comes to Becca Reid. Both are trying to figure out what happened to her, but the nahuali don’t necessarily trust the investigation that UNSETIC is undertaking, in part because their interaction with the organization has been limited in New York up to this point. As far as the nahuali are concerned, it is their responsibility to sort out what happened to Becca and why—and how it connects to the destruction of her pack.
Becca, once she regains consciousness, wants to know what the hell happened to her—and the people she loves. She ends up running to Cassidy, dragging the young Tyne Johansen with her after Daisha’s apparent death outside the hospital where Becca was being monitored.
I took yesterday off for various reasons, but back at it this evening!
- Project: Hope is an overarching organization that many of the nahauli are involved in. It is a social justice and environmentalist organization with chapters across the country and around the world. While not all of its members are nahauli, many of them are and some others—though by no means all—know about the nahuali and sometimes work with them. Becca was a part of a small Project: Hope chapter in high school, but she fell out of working with the organization until she moved to New York.
- New York is a unique location for organized supernatural activity. There are several known Order covens in the city and dozens of solitary practitioners; the Concordat in the city is not strong, but does claim several well-connected mages among its numbers. The vampires of the city are incredibly well-organized, with the city’s Primarch enjoying a great deal of power over the Brethren there, though not absolute power (some minor players, such as Cassidy Beckett, toe the line but remain inside the rules—for now—and have quietly begun to garner their own power in the city). The nahuali enclave in Central Park is much smaller than it used to be, with sister enclaves on Staten Island and on Long Island, but remains influential. The Hunters are still numerous in the city and have regained their previous footing in the years since the ascendance of the new General of New York. And then, of course, there’s UNSETIC—Brigid has been the regional lead in the city for roughly two years and has started to really settle into the role, supported by an increasingly close-knit team, some of whom worked with her while she was interim Midwest lead.
- There are a few locations in the city that are generally considered neutral ground for the supernatural elements of the city. One is Ariel’s Grotto in Hell’s Kitchen, another is St. Malachy’s parish, and a third is the Meeting Place, Brigid’s bar in Spanish Harlem and the headquarters for UNSETIC in New York City.