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02 May 2011 @ 06:25 pm
Dresden Files/The Sentinel Crossover 2/7  
Here be Part the second, part the first you can read here of my Dresden/Sentinel crossover.

Thanks to aeron_lanart for being a patient and wise beta for the last three months as this gestated!

Nothing you recognise is mine.

Shaman You Part 2

The address Sandburg had given me was only a few blocks from the hotel where I was staying so it was pretty easy to find my way there. As I reached the top floor, I was struck by the warm energies that surrounded it. All homes carry the protection of a threshold; it’s the reason vampires can’t enter without an invitation, but it also keeps out all but the strongest of magic and magical creatures. Usually, rented accommodation like an apartment doesn’t have a very strong threshold; it’s one of the reasons that I have to layer my basement apartment with so many warding spells to keep out the various bad guys who keep coming a knocking.

I knocked on Sandburg’s door and didn’t have to wait long before the door was opened by the detective in question. He smiled warmly when he saw me.

“Mr Dresden, please come in.”

I was very glad of the invite; Sandburg’s apartment was surrounded by a very strong protective field, so strong that without an invite I would probably end up flat on my ass. Last time I’d encountered such a strong one was when I visited Murphy’s home, and that had been built up by generations of families living there.

I stepped across the threshold and into the apartment; a spacious loft with typically Spartan decoration for a man’s home. I was surprised to see several tribal icons around the place, and the place was spotless; I’d got the impression that Sandburg wasn’t this neat.

“Who is it, Chief?” I recognised Detective Ellison’s voice, which sounded like he was upstairs. That explained the neatness at least. Looked like the partners shared the apartment and I briefly wondered if they were partners in more ways than one, not that I cared either way.

“Just your friendly neighbourhood wizard,” I answered before Sandburg could and gave Ellison a wave as he came downstairs to investigate. He nodded in greeting before heading to the kitchen area to get a drink of juice. He offered the carton in the direction of Sandburg and me so I shook my head.

“I’m taking Mr Dresden to the last crime scene. Want to come?” Sandburg said. Ellison shuddered, which made Sandburg grin; obviously I was missing out on a private joke here.

“Ready when you are, Detective Sandburg,” I said.

“If we’re going to be working together, you should call me Blair,” he said with a smile. I nodded and returned the smile.

“It’s Harry then.”

“And that, Harry, is Jim,” Blair added. Jim looked over at us and nodded his consent.

“He also replies to Sandburg, Curly or Hey you,” he said with a grin. Blair glared at him.

“You think you’re funny, but you’re not,” he said.

“You’ve just got no taste, Professor,” replied Ellison. As I watched the back and forth between them I warmed to Blair and Jim. They made a strange pair, but something about them made me think we were going to get on well.

Blair poked his tongue out at Ellison before he grabbed a jacket and his keys and then we headed out.


Sandburg owned a vintage green Volvo that had me pining for the Beetle. It’s not the roomiest of vehicles, but Blair’s box on wheels made it feel like a limousine in comparison. The Volvo was in good condition, he obviously took great care of her, but it wasn’t designed for someone of my height, which is weird, given how tall Swedes are.

We drove for about half an hour, passing the time with general, light chit-chat, the kind of friendly conversation that is pleasant but superficial. He took me to a stretch of woodland just on the outskirts of Cascade and we parked up in a lot that was no more than a patch of dirt by the road. We walked for a few minutes until we reached a clearing that I recognised from the case file. We were only a few hundred yards from the highway but the thick woods were an effective muffler and the only sounds in the clearing were our footsteps. It was too quiet, which is always a bad sign.

“It’s so quiet,” Blair commented. “I didn’t notice before; there were cops stomping about the place. But there are no birds or animals.”

I nodded. I was impressed that he’d noticed that. There was obviously a dark energy around the place keeping animals away. As I stepped into the clearing properly, a shiver ran down my spine like someone had dropped an ice cube down my shirt, confirming that this place had indeed been used for black magic.

“Someone just walked over my grave,” muttered Blair at my side. I looked at him askance and he gave me a sheepish grin and a shrug. “Just got the shivers. It’s this place.”

So, Detective Sandburg had enough power to sense the evil in this place. That was an interesting nugget to be filed away for later.

“You’re not wrong,” I said, continuing forward to the tree where the body had hung. Yellow crime scene tape fluttered in the breeze, incongruous in the forest. “I need quiet for a moment please, Blair.”

“Sure thing, Harry,” he replied and took a step back.

I closed my eyes and summoned my will. I’ve already said this, but it deserves repeating; I hate using the Sight. Whatever is seen with it can never be forgotten, and usually you really, really want to. I opened my eyes and Looked at the crime scene.

The area around the kill site burned white-hot, and I could even make out a faint shadow of the victim where he had hung. Human emotions are a powerful force, and I was seeing the afterglow of a whole bunch of raw emotions. Even five days after the killing, the impression lingered.

I looked around the tree, careful to avoid looking at Blair, trying to spot some sign that something had crossed from the Nevernever. I had walked around its trunk three times and I was about to give up when I spotted something on the ground, half covered by a leaf. Stooping, I swept it aside to see a large paw-print in the earth. It looked like it had been made by a dog or a wolf, but it was too big; the creature would be the size of a horse. And I mean a Shire, not a pony.

I reached out my left hand and fed a little of my will into it, feeling for the trace of the door. A few inches above the ground, no more than a foot from the paw-print, I could feel a thinning where someone, or something, had punched its way through from the Nevernever. It was crude; a hole ripped open by violence rather than a door created by subtle magic. That much I was actually thankful for; a door would have been impossible to detect after so much time.

I dropped the Sight and turned back to Blair, only to feel a prickle on the back of my neck.

“Get down!” I yelled at Blair, diving toward him and tackling him to the ground. I hit my head, hard, and felt a great rush of force as a hex flew over where our heads had been moments before.

“What was that?” Blair asked as we sat up.

“A little present from our murderer,” I answered, rubbing my sore head. Blair noticed and winced.

“Are you okay?” he asked as he examined my head. He stared into my eyes, probably checking for concussion. Maybe I was concussed; I was certainly a little groggy and reacted too slowly. I tried to avert my eyes but it was too late.

For wizards, the eyes are literally a window to the soul. Meet a wizard’s gaze for too long and it opens a connection between their soul and yours, allows you to see the core of their being and vice versa. It’s never pleasant and thanks to the Sight I’d never forget what I saw no matter how hard I tried. Most who know about wizards know to avoid their gaze, but straights generally don’t know any better and it’s down to the wizard to avoid eye contact. Now Blair had just begun a soulgaze between us.

I felt the way too familiar sensation of falling into him and found myself standing in a clearing in a Rainforest, South America if I had to guess, although this was Blair’s subconscious so it might not exist at all. Standing in front of me was a timber wolf, regarding me passively. A little weird, but I’d seen weirder in my time.

Something distracted the wolf and it turned its head toward the jungle. As it did, a big black cat, a jaguar maybe, slipped into the clearing and I took an involuntary step backward. I might be in Blair’s head, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t in any danger. The wolf was completely unconcerned by the cat’s appearance and bounded forward to meet it, tail wagging like a little puppy.

As the two animals met, they transformed: the wolf into Blair and the jaguar into Jim Ellison. Both were fully clothed, thank the stars. Confused? Me too. Soulgazes can be like that sometimes.

Suddenly, a native South American appeared and to make things really surreal he was lying on a couch, bleeding to death. As Jim and Blair went to him, the jungle dissolved, leaving us standing in the Detectives’ apartment. This was obviously the memory portion of the event. That’s the trouble with a soulgaze; they’re like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

“Incacha,” Jim murmured as he and Blair kneeled beside the couch. I took that to be the name of the guy lying on the couch.

Incacha muttered something in his language that, luckily for me, Jim then translated.

“He wants me to become the Sentinel once again.”

“Good, it’s about time,” agreed Blair. Both of them had tears in their eyes, they obviously cared for this man a lot. Incacha grabbed Blair by the forearm and he pulled back, confused and a little scared. “Hey,” he protested softly.

There was more from Incacha in his language, which Jim translated to an increasingly worried Blair.

“He passes over the way of the Shaman to you. He wants you to guide me to my animal spirit.”

“Jim, ask him how to do that. I don’t know how to do that,” Blair stammered in response. Jim asked, but it was too late and Incacha died.

The scene in front of me faded like a cut in a movie. I normally played a more active role in what I saw in a soulgaze, it was like some force or will was guiding both me and Blair, showing me what I needed to see. Or at least what it needed me to see.

I was standing in the jungle again, this time in front of an ancient temple and the man from the couch, Incacha, was standing before me.

“Welcome, Wizard Dresden,” he said in perfect English.

“How, Incacha” I replied. What can I say; I’m a wiseass by nature. Incacha didn’t even blink.

“I have brought you here to this sacred place for my people to explain why you must teach Blair Sandburg the way of the Shaman. Jim Ellison is the Sentinel of the Great City and Blair is his Guide. He must learn the gifts within himself to do this properly. The fate of the Great City depends on it.”

So that was what I was sensing about this pair; Jim is a Sentinel and Blair is a Shaman and Jim’s Guide. I knew what a Shaman is, but I had no idea what Sentinel or Guide meant. Or how I, a wizard, could teach Blair to be a Shaman. It would be like asking Gandalf to teach Obi-wan Kenobi. No, wait, I want to be the Jedi; didn’t think that through properly.

“Could you be a bit more vague?” I replied. I was about to ask him to explain what the hell he meant when the soulgaze ended and I was brought back to reality, sat opposite a stunned looking Blair.

“What the hell was that?” he asked.

I was wondering the same thing, and I didn’t have an answer but I knew a skull that would.

“That was something that wizards call a soulgaze. If we make eye contact with anyone for too long, it allows us to see the core of that being, their soul. But it’s a two-way street,” I explained to Blair, my mind racing with what I’d just learned.

“So I just saw your soul?” he asked. There was astonishment in his voice, curiosity maybe, but no judgement that I could detect. I briefly considered asking what he’d seen, but sanity prevailed and I didn’t. I nodded. We got to our feet and started heading back to where Blair had parked his Volvo.

“And I’m afraid you will never forget what you saw,” I added. I wasn’t certain of that; there was no guarantee that Blair had the Sight, but Shamans usually had powers of perception so I suspected he would. Blair nodded thoughtfully, but said nothing.

Shamans rarely have the level of power wizards do. Some can do magic, basic spells, but most are simply talented in knowing and healing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, they were powerful too in their own way.

It was likely that Blair was highly empathic, and with time and training could become telepathic even. He probably would be good at Listening, and have the Sight, maybe even Foresight. A lot of Shamans were considered lucky, but only because they knew when and where to be. Also because they were good at defensive magic; they often were capable of throwing up very strong shields, sometimes by instinct. Which explained why his home had such a strong threshold.

I didn’t think Blair would be able to manage any offensive spells; he didn’t have that kind of power. But maybe one day he might be able to master the elements enough to light a fire, or to perform basic ritual magic.

I stopped dead in my tracks as I considered this last thought, causing Blair to almost walk into me. I looked at him again, not afraid of looking him in the eyes this time; a soulgaze is only one per customer. A soulgaze doesn’t give you a complete picture of a person, it is possible for elements of their being to be hidden, but I really didn’t think Blair was capable of perpetrating this evil. But, then again, there had been that paw-print. I needed to do some more research on Detective Sandburg and his partner.

“Could you drop me at the nearest library?” I asked.

“Sure, but if there’s a book you need, I’m sure we can get it for you,” Blair replied with a smile. I forced myself to return it before answering.

“Thanks, but I’m not sure what I need yet. I’m following a hunch. I’ll get a cab back, no sense waiting for me.”

“Ok, Harry, you’re the expert. We’ll swing by in the morning and pick you up.”


A few hours later I arrived back at my hotel, tired but almost certain that Blair wasn't the murderer. He hadn't seemed like the type, and Incacha, or the part of Blair he represented, wanted me to believe that he and Ellison were guardians of Cascade. Still, better to be safe than sorry; it wouldn't have been the first time I'd been fooled by someone. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice and I was liable to get my face ripped off.

The library had kept hard copies of the local newspapers as well as microfiche and computer copies so I was able to trawl back through them for any references to my new partners. It seemed that until six years ago, Blair had been a successful and respected, if perhaps a little nutty, graduate lecturer in anthropology at Rainier University. Then the details of his thesis about a Sentinel, one James Ellison, came to the attention of the press. After a few days of media scrutiny on Ellison, Sandburg confessed that he had falsified evidence to make the paper a better read and he was fired from the university in disgrace.

Now knowing that Jim really was a Sentinel, I was impressed by Blair's loyalty. He fell on his sword, ending his chosen career, for the sake of his friend. I'm not sure how many of my friends would show me the same loyalty. Well, ok, Michael might, and probably Murphy too; they’d certainly lay down their lives for me, they’ve both come close in the past. Anyway, I’m getting off the point.

Someone in Cascade PD must have known the truth because I doubted that Blair would be taken on as an officer with such a public history of fraud. Yet he'd been accepted not only as an officer but as a detective in Major Crimes, partnered with none other than Jim Ellison after only a few months at the academy and no time at all in uniform.

Even if I hadn't had that little chat with Incacha during my wander through Blair's subconscious I think I'd have been able to put together the truth of the matter. It was obvious that Blair and Jim were good guys.

With that settled, I just needed to find out who and what we were dealing with. Oh, and how to teach Blair to be a Shaman. Clearly it was going to be one of those weeks.

On my way back to the hotel I’d bought a map of the city, which was now stretched across my bed, yellow dots marking each of the murder sites.

“Bob, is it just me or does that look…?”

“Like a pentagram? Yes, yes it does,” Bob agreed. I nodded and with my highlighter pen connected the dots to form a five-sided star on the map.

If the cops mapped the sites too and figured this out then it’s no surprise they thought the murders were satanic. But the pentagram is a far older symbol that represents the five elements. Wrap it in a circle representing human will binding the elements and you’ve got a pentacle like the amulet around my neck. It’s a symbol that can be used to channel some powerful magic and this killer had created one that covered the whole of Cascade.

“The last point isn’t marked yet,” Bob commented. “That’ll be the next place. It looks like he’s following a lunar cycle for his rituals. The last kill was at new moon, so you’ve got a week or so before the full.”

“Let’s hope we can find the creep before then,” I replied. “He’s creating a door, isn’t he?”

“It looks that way. The paw print you mentioned and the way the rituals are being performed make me think that whoever’s doing this is trying to bring through Fenris,” Bob explained.

“Fenris? Isn’t that the big ass wolf in Norse myth that’s supposed to eat the world?”

“And here I thought you never paid attention, Harry,” Bob chuckled. “The Norse legends come from real experience of the creature. Back in the five or six hundreds, Fenris was able to roam this plane in a physical body. It cut a swathe through Northern Europe, destroying whole villages in its wake. Until a powerful wizard managed to force it into the Nevernever and seal it there.”

“So I’m guessing if this Fenris gets out, it’ll be pissed?” I said.

“Harry, it mustn’t get out. The legend about it eating the world wasn’t exaggerating.”

So, stop the ritual, stop the big bad wolf from eating the world. Just another day at the office.

The wannabe warlock was clearly a lunatic if he was willing to end the world. Organised nutjobs with power and a goal are the most dangerous kind to go up against. They’ve usually got very little to lose and will sacrifice anything to achieve their ends.

This guy was making a deal with a ridiculously powerful creature of the Nevernever and that was not going to end well for anyone. So far Fenris wasn’t taking the bait; for whatever reason it hadn’t accepted any of the offerings. But it had come through from the Nevernever, no matter how briefly. I had to stop this before the next killing or Fenris might be able to break through, with or without magical assistance from this side.

At least I knew what I was dealing with. I’d be able to give Blair and Jim a few ideas on where to start looking for the killer and the rough time and location of the next ritual. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

I allowed myself a small smile and pulled out a couple of rolled up magazines from my duster before tossing them onto the table near Bob’s skull.

“You did good, Bob. Now, tell me everything you know about Sentinels and their Guides and I’ll let you read that porn.”

This continues in part 3
Rhi: Amyvipersweb on May 2nd, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
Nice carrot and stick approach with Bob. *g*

I like the way you're unfolding this. Nice use of Fenris... Poor Harry... he never seems to get an easy job of things. Am curious what Blair took from the soul gaze.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: jim n blair laughidontlikegravy on May 4th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I'm curious too actually! I might write Jim & Blair's side of all this one day, there were several times while I was writing it where I'd love to know what they said to each other but Harry wasn't present so I couldn't put it in. :)
Feonixriftfeonixrift on May 2nd, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Liking this one, a lot.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: jim n blair laughidontlikegravy on May 4th, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
Black Rookgrachonok on May 2nd, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
You know, it's been a while since I saw a fic where I enjoyed form as much as content:). That line about Kenobi and Gandalf was brilliant:). Waiting for the next part!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: jim n blair laughidontlikegravy on May 4th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)

Thank you hon. Glad you liked that line, it was my favourite as I was writing this :)
anniemareanniemare on May 3rd, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
LOVE IT! Looking forward to the next part a lot!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: jim n blair laughidontlikegravy on May 4th, 2011 06:29 pm (UTC)
Merci :-)
Caro Dee: Talk Fastcarodee on May 3rd, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
Fenris! You are upping the stakes a lot here. Plus, as a Sentinel fan I'm loving Harry's wary respect for Blair. Harry is so much more powerful that he could discount Blair (which is never wise). Another lovely chapter.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: jim n blair laughidontlikegravy on May 4th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I hope I'm getting the balance right between the fandoms, and giving Blair a chance to shine without neglecting Jim or Harry. Time will tell, but I'm glad it's going down so well so far :)