Dresden Files Fool Moon Ch23-24

I clenched my teeth and kicked my legs. The duct tape around my ankles gave way, but it was too late to do me any good.

Okay so the central point last chapter was his legs were still tied therefore he had to go through lots of effort to fake still being tied up completely and was so desperate to get the guy to leave so he’d have time to free himself that he tried Plan Anger The Ragemonster and repeatedly said it was a great idea. But never mind, he could’ve gotten free any time and instead waited until even that wasn’t enough to escape.Luckily, Mobster Daddy is here, and he’s brought guns to convince Stupidwolf to not smash Harry’s head in.

“That’s a twelve-gauge riot gun, Mr. Parker,” Marcone said. “I’m fully aware of your rather special endurance at this time of the month. Mr. Hendricks’s weapon is loaded with solid-slug ammunition, and after several rounds have torn literal pounds of flesh from your body and ruptured the majority of your internal organs

So again, we see how Marcone should absolutely be behind this. He’s a guy who’s just getting a grip on all this. He thinks he has the answer and it’s true some of the time, just enough for him to not know how dangerous it can be.

We can even see exactly what wrong path he could go down – believing that things can be weak or strong against things, but that flat out immunities don’t exist. It sure seems like MacFinn is functionally immune to all non-silver damage, which really isn’t an intuitive thing. I mean, it’s like how, as a mobster, Tiger Soul is probably familiar with disposing of bodies and how you want to use bases, not acids. But he’d also know that you just need stronger acid and more time for bodies if acid is all you have. In that case, he might understand you’re supposed to shoot a werewolf with a silver bullet but that reasonably, anti-tank weaponry should probably do fine too and guess what he has lying around!

(This would all be better if the book had more rocks/paper/scissors to it and less HARRY BLASTS THE DEMON APART WITH LIGHTNING. As it is, the werewolf’s survival seems more random author fiat that it just wasn’t enough to finish it off, not that it’s actually impossible to kill that way.)

Parker glanced back at me, and I could see the beast raging in his eyes, wanting to howl out and bathe in blood. It terrified me, made me go cold, right through my gut and down through my loins. There was more fury and rage there than any of the other members of the Streetwolves had demonstrated. Their own berserk losses of control had looked like a child’s tantrum next to what I saw in Parker’s eyes.

WHY?

Every time we meet this guy, we’re told he’s even more different than the things we were just introduced to and barely know yet, and every time moves it a little bit further from personality variation to him being fundamentally different somehow.

And it’s stupid!

What would mean more, that he had more rage and more control than the rest just cuz he’s the advanced template boss monster, or defining him by his control only over the course of the story and then seeing that here he’s been pushed much further past the point any of the rest would snap. It makes sense he’d be angrier than the rest by this point, because he’s had to put up with more.

Because then But he controlled it. would actually follow as a surprise, whereas here Harry’s just saying the same thing he says every time he sees the guy: omg rage omg control.

Anyway Marcone goes on to thank Harry for the helpful werewolf essay, he’s figured out what MacFinn is but since he’s a mobster boss by merit he started poor and has no inherited silver and……no one at all in his employ does? Like, this isn’t his personal nemisis, I’d expect making someone else shoot it would be Plan A. In this as pretty much every other situation, having ridiculous piles of money puts you ahead of everyone else. Hell, if there isn’t enough inherited silver around right now, he can find out who’s okay with having their grandma shot and have her buy two tons of the stuff before actually shooting her.

Marcone goes on to say I have no idea who told him that I had wronged him, or why, but it seems perfectly clear that he believes it. which…I don’t think MacFinn’s opinions right now amount to more than MY LIFE SUCKS BECAUSE I’M A WEREWOLF. We know Marcone isn’t behind it because he’s the one getting attacked, and it doesn’t matter if MacFinn thinks otherwise anyway because he’s demonstrated shit at everything about this.

Anyway, Marcone wants to offer his whole deal again.

“In addition, I will promise you, give you my personal oath, that I will see to it that the pressure is taken off of Lieutenant Murphy. I do have some friends in the mayor’s office, and I’m certain something could be worked out.”

Now, this should be a real issue. It’s not even exactly a temptation, because we know Murphy is keeping down a lot of bad stuff and indeed, a part of the current clusterfuck is that she knew it was werewolves but had to wait a month to even call Harry to learn more and can’t act on the stuff regardless because her bosses hate her.

Harry should be wondering if Marcone can hurt more people with wizard help than Murphy can save. He should also worry that if he does this, then if he ever tries to back out again then the fact Marcone helped her will “mysteriously” come out and she’ll definitely lose her job. Many practical considerations here.

Instead, he thinks that he doesn’t want to die and that Murphy’s his friend who he should help, BUT

Wouldn’t Murphy thank me for helping her?
No, I thought. Not like that. She wouldn’t want that kind of help. Magic, she could accept. Help from money generated by human suffering, graft, and deception was a different story. Marcone looked good in his grey suit and his perfect hair and his manicured hands, but he wasn’t. My own hands weren’t clean-but they were free.

Yes, he should definitely keep using the blood money to make more blood money instead. God help us all if evil is ever less than constantly profitable.

Harry tries to telekinesis his way out of this, but the stuff just twitches and he gets your usual blinding pain for using psychic powers wrong. Marcone makes a note and repeats the offer.

Stupidwolf finally registers this means he doesn’t get to kill Harry and begins to complain, and Harry, who’ll you’ll remember is very bad at lying, decides to pretend to take the offer in the hopes it’ll mean they fight.

“Give me a pen,” I said.
Marcone’s mouth dropped open, and it was an intense pleasure to see the surprise on his face. “What?” he said.

Naturally this is so very convincing. Harry proceeds to make it obvious he’s just trying to fuck with Stupidwolf:

I enunciated each word carefully. “Give me a pen. I’ll sign your contract.” I glanced aside, at Parker, and said more loudly, “Anything to get away from these animals.”

And Marcone is baffled by this.

Marcone stared at me for a moment and then reached toward his pocket. I could see his eyes, see him searching my expression. The gears were spinning in his head as he tried to work out what I was doing.

God damn you Marcone YOU HAD ONE JOB.

Stupidwolf attacks Bodyguard, who dodges but then Stupiderwolf jumps him so Stupidwolf can go for Marcone but Marcone used CURVED KNIFE which was super effective despite the berserkerwolves being the terminator, and Harry runs for it during this mess.

Agent Phillip Denton stood five feet away from me, in the cold mist of autumn rain.

Yeah it’s werewolves all the way down.

But instead of drawing guns out of their jackets, they changed.

So I don’t know what Harry meant by saying he had all the pieces earlier, because he seems surprised. This might just be a weird artifact of first person, where he’s phrasing it to put all the focus on how we the average person would think this.

If Harry didn’t realize they were the final werewolf group, then I don’t know what he worked out about the fact redhead RBI was following him.

Oh, also: It happened fast, nothing like you see in the movies. Jesus christ Butcher your werewolves are movie werewolves shut the fuck up.

Incidentally the werewolves are six feet long so actually not nearly as mammoth as I’d like. I mean, yes, that’s still larger than I’d prefer to encounter, but we have guns now. And they themselves have guns. The werewolf thing needs to be offering some significant advantages.

Denton stood between them, his eyes gleaming with some dark breed of joy, and then he hissed, throwing his hands toward me. As though thrown by the motion, both wolves hurtled forward.

Incidentally, fun wolf fact, they don’t actually grasp pointing.

But otherwise, good idea. Wolves do have a concept of chains of command and taking orders. If you want to turn into wild animals and kill stuff, but don’t want to lose your group’s tight discipline, wolves are one of your only options. Spotted hyenas also have a pretty good system, but good luck running around October Chicago like that.

Since this isn’t enough of a clusterfuck to justify Harry’s escape, the rest of the berserkerwolves return now.

All around me, in the garage, there were the sounds of gunshots and screams and thuds of flesh as the animals fought for control of the jungle, and it was only a matter of time before one of them stumbled across a weakened and exhausted wizard named Harry Dresden.
Talk about frying pans and fires.

Harry therefore whines about how this makes his life so hard and is so much worse than earlier when one was right in front of him about to kill him.

We then go on to the next chapter, where Harry continues to whine.

It couldn’t possibly get any worse than this, I thought.

He does go on to bring something validish.

and full of the knowledge that my magic had failed me.

He goes on to say but the indication was there that I had burned out some internal circuitry. It might not ever come back.

Only there’s no way of knowing this, is there? He just knows when he tried to do a thing, it fizzled and his head hurt. I can easily buy him not knowing what that means and being scared it could be more serious than just exhaustion, but there’s no “indication” of anything from that. If it’s supposed to mean this, he should say it’s known this means something bad.

Also I’m pretty sure it’s total bullshit.

It was a loss of identity. I was a wizard. It was more than just a job, more than just a title. Wizardry was at the core of my being. It was my relationship with my magic, the way I used it, the things it let me do that defined me, shaped me, gave me purpose.

Which makes this even more annoying. Also, this is really not something to bring up in a book that kicks off with him telling someone else they weren’t good enough to be a wizard, which ends up directly resulting in her death.

Marcone gets out and then the spellwolves and berserkerwolves just go at each other.

It was largely a gunfight. Denton was armed with his FBI-issue automatic and what looked like an Uzi submachine gun.

Okay, look. You’re the one who set up the idea the wolfbelts had a point. But first you say they’re barely extra large, and now you’re actually saying that really, the guns are better.

Once he, a single ordinary human, guns down multiple berserkerwolves, two spellwolves jump in to eat rip into the already injured group.

Stupidwolf is barking orders, but who cares, every time we’ve seen them and orders it’s been Parker needing to beat them to obey anything he says. You had your chance to establish them as an actual pack and you actively contradicted it, book.

Then something starts digging near where Harry is.

I saw it in the dimness, and there was no mistaking the shape. A paw, a huge canine paw, scrabbled at the earth, digging out a shallow hole beneath the wall, frustrated by bits of concrete that got in the way. Between shots, I could hear animal sounds outside, panting whimpers of eagerness, it seemed. Whatever was out there wanted to dig its way inside, and wanted it bad.

I want to make something clear here.

There are four groups of werewolves: spellwolves, cursewolves, transformwolves and soulwolves. Spellwolves and soulwolves are currently busy with each other. Cursewolf is currently a guy (and he’d just shove through the wall if he was a wolf). Which werewolf is digging to Harry?

“Dig this,” I muttered, and swung the wrench down on the paw, hard.

AGAIN. THERE ARE FOUR GROUPS. TWO OF THEM ARE KILLING EACH OTHER, THE THIRD IS CURRENTLY HUMAN, WHO IS DIGGING?

There was an instant yelp of pain, and the paw jerked its way back out from beneath the corrugated-metal wall. It was followed by a snarl, and the paw appeared again, whereupon I slammed the wrench down on it once more, with similar results.

AGAIN. THERE ARE FOUR GROUPS. TWO OF THEM ARE KILLING EACH OTHER, THE THIRD IS CURRENTLY HUMAN, WHO IS DIGGING?

I heard a furious snarling sound from the other side, and I released a small surge of vindictive satisfaction by leaning down close enough to the hole to say, “Hah. Bring another one in here and I’ll give you the same.”

AGAIN. THERE ARE FOUR GROUPS. TWO OF THEM ARE KILLING EACH OTHER, THE THIRD IS CURRENTLY HUMAN, WHO IS DIGGING?

LEARN TO FUCKING COUNT.

I heard sounds outside for a moment, then a crunch of gravel, and Tera West’s smooth, unmistakable voice. “Wizard,” she hissed. “Stop that.”
I blinked, startled, and leaned down close to the hole. “Tera? Is that you? How did you know it was me?”

IF YOU DIDN’T THINK THEY KNEW IT WAS YOU WHY THE FUCK DID YOU THINK THEY WERE GOING TO HURT YOU JESUS CHRIST HARRY YOU’RE NOT EVEN PRETENDING THERE’S A PLOT YOU’RE JUST DOING RANDOM SHIT NOW.

“You are the only man I ever met,” Tera growled, “who would smash the paws that are trying to free you from certain death.”

Now, this reads as a criticism, but if you think, she said it in response to his question, and also she’s not the one digging. So yeah.

Tera, I am in awe of your ability to read people. Also, I know you need him alive for your boyfriend, and if he does successfully help your boyfriend you might feel gratitude, but I want you to remember this and that really, just kill him when you’re done and do everyone a favor.

The digging resumes, but then stops and there’s fighting sounds outside.

“It’s that bitch,” Denton snarled. “Roger’s got her outside.”

It keeps happening.

Then a throaty, sensual female voice purred

Oh look it got worse.

Lead FBI guy keeps trying to give orders, saying that one needs to go deal with Tera but they’ve got to get rid of Harry.

“What about me, lover?” the female voice said, a husky laugh added to the end. Agent Benn sounded like she’d just had too much sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and was hungry for more.
“You and I stay in here. I’ll cover the doors. Flush them toward me.”
There was a mewling sound of pleasure from the woman. “Come with me,” she urged. “Change. You know you love it so much. You know how good it feels.”
I could visualize Denton’s veins throbbing. “Smarter for one of us to cover the door with a gun.” But there was a sort of heavy reluctance to his tone.
“Fuck smart,” Benn purred. “Come with me. Change.”
“It’s not why we did this. Not why we made the bargain.”
Benn made another sound, utterly sexual in nature. “It doesn’t matter now. Taste it,” she urged him. “Taste the blood.” The light wavered and dropped from the corner where I hid.
I chanced a look up. Agent Benn, spattered in gore, stood before Denton in the wash of his flashlight from the floor. She had three of her fingers pressed together, and was sliding them between his lips. Denton was shaking, and his eyes were squeezed tightly closed. He suckled at her fingers, something frighteningly erotic in the motion. One of the huge, gaunt beasts from earlier, Wilson I supposed, stood nearby, watching the pair of them with gleaming eyes.
Denton made a growling sound and grasped Benn by her mane of greying hair, jerking her chin up so that he could nuzzle and lick at the blood smeared over her throat. She laughed and arched into him, her hips undulating against him in urgent motions. “Change,” she moaned. “Change. Do it.”

Okay, so I’ll give the book this – Benn should also be naked, yet either changing lets you keep your clothes or Harry just isn’t bring it up.

Everything else? Is everything else.

(Oh also of course it’s the woman tempting the man with sexy sex.)

Anyway, Parker makes one last attempt and Denton’s all fuck it and turns into a wolf.

And then the wolves started to eat him. They bit off chunks of muscle and gulped them down, ripping aside clothing to get to more meat. They snarled and snapped at one another, and one of the males mounted the female, even as she continued to tear at the body, burrowing her muzzle down through the layers of stomach muscle to get at the vitals.

So that’s not wolf behavior and I don’t think getting turned on by eating entrails is berserker behavior either. It’s here for the sake of being here.

But after an unspecified time that I will interpret as questionably long, Harry tears his eyes from the wolfsex, claims to be super grossed out, and considers the hole. Now that the bitches (hahahahahaha so clever) are no longer digging, it occurs to him that maybe he could bother digging too. If he’d been helping a few minutes ago, he’d probably be out already, but that’d have meant acting when he had the option of not acting.

When he does get out, he finds there’s lots of wolves. The new wolves are regular sized and trying to hold off the final FBI wolf. Tera is in human form but naked and lean adds the book yet again because it’s creepy, and she’s holding pipes because apparently those work better than moose-crushing jaws. She tells Harry to go deal with MacFinn. He says there’s more giant wolves and they’ll be killed if they don’t move.

“There are pack on the ground,” she snarled, and jerked her head toward the wounded wolves. “We do not abandon our own.”

Really?

Because the thing is, wolves can’t move other wolves, what with being four-legged animals. They do try to stick around distressed wolves, but come on, even deer will try to stay around their distressed deer friends, that doesn’t mean they’ll keep doing it in the face of death.

Humans are reasonably good at not leaving people behind because we have hands and stuff – and also because it’s not like we usually can outrun whatever else so standing and defending isn’t such a bad idea.

Harry then points out that on a practical level he actually needs Tera alive, then says that he can’t accept more death because noble, but as always, that’s pretty hollow when you open by saying you’re personally disadvantaged by that.

He then claims he’s sick of being jerked around.

I’d flailed around in the dark and been helpless and ineffective for way too long.

Flailing would’ve meant actually trying, Harry. You sat around in the light pondering if opening your eyes might be a good idea. He then says that even without magic, he’s still a wizard.

one of the magi, the wise. That’s the true power of a wizard.
I know things.

AHAHAHAHAHA yeah Harry sure you do.

Knowledge is power.
With power comes responsibility.

Mostly, the responsibility to watch other people get killed.

But supposedly Harry is a hero, so suddenly he decides it’s time to jump the wolf, then when it tries to bite him he gets the wrench in its mouth, and it just knocks it away and goes for him again.

11 Comments

  1. Roarke says:
    The more I think about Parker’s predicament, the more I’m realizing two things:

    1. I’m putting more thought into it than Butcher did
    2. There’s actually some really interesting potential for group dynamics and the difficulties of keeping an anti-social group functional.

    Like, it would actually be pretty cool of Parker to acknowledge that yeah, he’s getting old and the day when Lana chews off his head balls isn’t far off. He knows it’s inevitable, and he just wants to secure the group’s position before he passes because, at the moment, he’s the only one old and wise enough to think about the future.

    He decides that the best way to secure his group’s survival for the foreseeable future is to establish themselves somewhere better than a goddamn ramshackle garage, and actually form connections with the biggest gang in the city. He has the money to keep his group rolling in money and drugs, apparently, but good real estate is much harder to get and keep, since it needs to be done halfway legitimately.

    So Parker’s trying to work all of this stuff out when Harry bumbles into the garage, moving up the timetable by two or three years. It’s a blessing and a curse: on the one hand, Parker’s hand is getting forced early. On the other, he now has a tenuous link to Marcone.

    Part of his whole characterization with Lana and his Number Two could be subtly grooming them in different ways. Parker’s put up with Number Two for a long time, and he’s used to Number Two questioning him. He knows that, if Number Two tries the same resistance with Lana when she’s still new to her position, she’ll kill him to make an example (like any leader who’s insecure in their position). He figures that Number Two isn’t so worthless yet that the group can afford to lose him and Parker at basically the same time. There probably aren’t enough ‘leaders’, who can basically handle 4-5 of the rank and file at a time (I’m assuming that’s how their hierarchy works, since Parker is top boss by kicking everyone’s ass, but clearly has sub-bosses).

    I can’t really imagine how he’d groom Lana, though. He could go all Sith Lord, encouraging her to hate him and covet his power, but she seems to be doing that on her own. He needs a way to make sure that the transfer of power happens without too much collateral damage or attention. He could play the bad guy and convince her that she’s taking over for the group’s own good, but then she’s more likely to undo the changes he’s trying to make for the group’s survival. Also, she doesn’t seem like she’d care enough about the group, because she hasn’t been given much attention as a character, because Butcher gave her a name, a bitch joke, and a taste for genitals, then called it a day.

    1. Farla says:
      I can’t really imagine how he’d groom Lana, though. He could go all Sith Lord, encouraging her to hate him and covet his power, but she seems to be doing that on her own.

      Okay, so bearing in mind this isn’t my fandom and I just see stuff over other people’s shoulders, I think Megatron and Starscream might be a working model here. In some continuities, Megatron claims to be keeping Starscream around as his successor, which may or may not be a lie to keep him under control but you gotta figure just killing the guy who backstabs you any time he gets the chance would be more productive.

      Under that model, you can convince the other person to work together if the outside threat is such that their attempted coup would weaken things enough the group itself would be destroyed.

      So Lana hates his guts and is constantly challenging him, but assuming she’s not an idiot, when he kicks her off him again and they do it his way and his way works, she’s learning about how to run the group. I’d assume that she’s actually okay at leadership already, she’s just hotheaded, and as long as she’s hotheaded he’s always going to see the attacks coming and have an advantage. In order to kill him, she’ll have to learn to control herself, which is the same lesson he’s trying to teach her about her decisions regarding the whole group.

      If we ignore the fact there’s no sign of children, this model could even make evolutionary sense – the leader gets lots of kids, but if the group falls apart after their death, those kids will probably die, so getting killed but ensuring the group’s survival is genetically sound. (Human pregnancies wouldn’t work well with a female leader having to fight all day, but maybe she’ll favor her relatives. Maybe male leaders generally have to give up reproduction too because whoever they have sex with will try to castrate them – thus his surety about Lana and chewing off balls, but they can still favor the children they’ve already had and their siblings.)

      1. Roarke says:
        Yeah, that would make plenty of sense. In that case, the group might actually benefit if Parker made a few bad/unpopular decisions (like the ones you’re calling him stupidwolf for) towards the end of his reign. He could try to get Lana to see the coup as something she’s doing for the group instead of just herself, which might get her to frame her further actions in that light.
        1. Farla says:
          Hm. It might be that Parker making bad decisions actually is what kicked off Lana’s coup.

          If he’s still just as smart but slowing down physically, when their whole thing is physical might, it might lead to his decisions favoring easy stuff even when that’s not actually the best choice. That’d also explain why everyone seems so generally mad about his decisions here – to us he’s behaving sanely, but it may be that this is the latest in a line of decisions where he’s willing to compromise when he doesn’t have to.

          And it may be he isn’t just as smart as he was – since god knows nothing about them is actually matching up with human bodies animal souls, maybe they’re a live fast die young model and just as he’s slowing down with age despite super healing, his brain is finally starting to feel those constant jolts and bangs of daily life. Human elders only work because we listen to them rather than murdering them. There’s no reason for these guys to have their brains outlast their bodies.

          1. Roarke says:
            Very true. Though the super healing does actually fit nicely into their social model in terms of always fighting. It kind of makes sense that they’d have no behavioral aversion to serious fights, since only a fight to the death will actually have lasting consequences.

            In that sense, I could actually see elders being worthless – if they can no longer heal/fight as well, then they can’t even participate in the basic social structure, much less lead it.

  2. Socordya says:

    He goes on to say but the indication was there that I had burned out some internal circuitry. It might not ever come back.
    […]
    Also I’m pretty sure it’s total bullshit.

    That would, after all, require lasting negative consequences for Harry.

  3. illhousen says:
    “He goes on to say but the indication was there that I had burned out some internal circuitry. It might not ever come back.”

    Yeah, he just needs future!Harry to show him how to properly do magic.

    “…All my life was
    Unlimited Bitching Works!”

    1. Nerem says:
      It’s hilarious that he possibly thinks it would be THIS that burns him out. It’s not like in the previous book he totally recharged himself multiple times on baby farts.
      1. illhousen says:
        But blasting rod has never failed him before, he swears!

        It must be some kind of mysterious and dangerous ailment.

        1. Roarke says:
          Ah, impotence. Yeah, that happens when you get old. No wonder Morgan’s not in this book. He must have seen the signs.
      2. Farla says:
        I think that’s why he’s freaked out. Every other time he explained he was out of magic no really, it just meant his magic worked even better. Now things are actually going like reality says they should! SHIT WHAT IF HE JUST STOPPED BEING THE MAIN CHARACTER?????????????????

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