Ghost Story - Following Your Heart



Case #01832
Date: 12/06/1998

Summary: Investigation into suspected breach of the Dictum Mortum, Chicago warehouses.


Rumour found its' way to me via the local Anacreon that there is a guy slipping through the Shroud down in the warehouse district of Chicago. The guy must be some kind of Harbinger as he vanishes every time the Legionnaires happen to find him. Nobody's got a good look at him so far, he moved too fast. Obviously some kind of Harbinger. I was shoehorned into finding out what was going on.

The official jobs are the easiest, that's for sure. Half of the time, the bosses actually tell you the truth with what's going on and what they want you to do about it. I was hoping this was one of those times. Find out who it was, why he was breaching the Dictum and tell the Silent Anacreon here so he could use it for blackmail material or deal with the guy in question. Simple, ain't it? So it seemed.

I waited an hour down amongst the warehouses. The Harbinger's tricks I know kept the dispossessed from freaking at seeing a guy in an official mask walking among them. That was a good start. Of course, that fell apart when a beat up guy slammed right into me from behind, babbling about them "being after him". At least I could pump him for information, so I dragged him down a street between the crumbling shadow of what must have been meat warehouses to judge by the smell. I ditched the mask before he could get a good look at it and asked him
what was up.

Apparently a Renegade gang was following him, had been since he crossed over with them. Killing him in one life wasn't enough, they wanted to dump his ass straight to Oblivion, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred Oboli. I asked him why he didn't leave. "I have my reasons," he said. I decided not to probe, and let the guy on his way. Good thing I did, two guys looking like the kind of mooks Scarface Capone would reject came running, asked with all the sincerity of a hired legbreaker if I had seen a scrawny guy, kinda beat up. One of their Thralls, so they said. I pointed them the other way, and they half turned when the Nihil opened under their feet. They were torn into a Harrowing right before my eyes.

I cloaked myself again, taking the time to bulk up. Say what you like, I was in no mood to be dumped Down There. I followed a hunch after the battered guy and sure enough, there he was, fading back through from the skinlands. Too damn predictable for my tastes. He thought he'd got away, but this time when he ran into me I'd had time to brace. Manacling him with my left hand, I asked him what he was doing. I was honestly curious, plus the boss wanted to know.

It turns out that he was an information broker for the Mob a couple years back. They asked him questions, he gave them answers and didn't get his legs broken. Seemed a fair deal to him at the time, until other people turned to him for information. He thought he could play two sides against the other. He got greedy, and the Mob doesn't like people who get greedy with their money. He was brought to the side of the warehouse I found him at and suffered a fatal accident courtesy of a sledgehammer cocktail overdose from the heavy acting as barman.

While he was alive, he had set up a group of the Don's best men to get in on the actions of a Triad that was trying to get in on the city. The men working that angle didn't expect the chinks to be there, and they failed. The Mob doesn't like failures. They followed him over three months later at the same spot, dying with a curse on their lips. Only problem is that they showed up on this side as well. Since then there's been a weird kind of war going down that nobody that hasn't seen it would know about. The heavies beat the shit out of my mark here, and in return he crosses over to desecrate the site of their execution. Not something we want to carry on happening.

The only problem is that I can see it in his eyes. The desire to be rid of these guys is burning back there and it's not his Shadow that's making him think that. He honestly can't stand to be in the same place as them but the yard where they all bought it is too strong a Fetter for him to leave. So he does his best to ruin it for them, whilst trying to save his own ass. He's a real community
spirited guy. Neither group can leave the area, neither can stand each other. It's part of why they remain. Both wants to be rid of the other.

I found out, when I was heading to the Citadel with him, that he had never been Harrowed. He'd never been through what he was trying like hell to put those others through, and had recently succeeded in doing. I tried to explain the concept to him, tried to get through to his head the kind of intensely fucked up shit that they will be going through courtesy of their own minds. He didn't
listen. All he could think of to say is "Serves them right."

Unfortunately, further questioning was cut short when Renegades jumped us. Assuming the suspect to be my thrall, they tried freeing him. Unfortunately, there were several more of them than was necessary and in the confusion the suspect was knocked into a Harrowing. I suggest increasing the Legion patrols in the warehouse district to compensate and to hopefully locate the target. An artist's impression of the target is attached.

* * *

"Holy shit," the enfant breathed, looking up at Cassidy with trepidation in his eyes. "You Harrowed the guy?"

"Well done, kid. You're beginning to read between the lines." Cassidy's hand reached to the bottom drawer of his desk, hoping he would find more than empty space but knowing he would not.

"But.... He was following his Passions. His reasons for being here. You told me that if we didn't do that then we wouldn't have a reason to be here." There was an edge of defiance in the enfant's voice, one Cassidy hadn't heard before.

"I know. But this guy, his Passion was dangerous. Too dangerous. He was fucking with a place that was a Fetter for at least three of us. What if he had been doing that to your Fetter or to mine? How would you have felt to be Harrowed for a petty grudge someone has against someone else, neither of whom you know? I'll tell you now, thinking like that guy did is dangerously close to following your Shadow. " Dick sighed, looking a lot older than his protégé had seen him before.

"Harrow the lot of them. They have a chance of learning from that. If they don't learn, then they go to the Forges. I don't like it but it's the way it has to be, unless you want Oblivion knocking on the door," he set the ornate mask down on the desk, shaking his head slowly, "Sometimes I even believe it."