Lessons with Bob and Butters - a Dresden Files Spot-the-Crossover story

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Lessons with Bob and Butters - a Dresden Files Spot-the-Crossover story

Post by Majin Gojira » 2020-05-13 10:14pm

This story takes place in what is usually referred to as "The Crossover Universe" which tracks, within some rules, same-universe crossover stories and references in officially published material. For this story, I will be taken largely from the perspective of the Dresden Files as the primary lens, though other influences will show themselves in time. Each dialogue will cover one topic, and I am open to suggestions for which (broad) subjects to have Butters ask Bob about.

In other words, remember those background details on how series interacted with each other in Supernatural Taisen (I feel so bad for dropping the ball on that)? Well, this is a (little dry) hyperfocus on that stuff.

---

“We’ve talked about the Vampire courts already,” Bob whined as Butters took him from the computer room to 'the workshop' where they worked on 'magic for muggles.'“We’ve gone over the major courts: White, Black, and, until recently, Red.”

“But I want to know if there is anything beyond the major courts?” Butters said, “Like, they sounded like they mostly operated in Europe and America.”

Bob’s eye’s gleamed, “You are always so attentive, I love it. Yes, there are more vampires out there than just the big three. Some are even more common than the Reds were, but they don’t actually organize politically.”

“So, what do you know?”

“How would you like to start? By continent? How likely are they to show up in Chicago?”

Butters folded his arms and leaned back in his chair, “How about ‘most common overall’ and then work our way down to less and less common ones.”

“Well, I only mentioned the Jade Court in passing. They’re the vampires of Asia, but the plural of it is the important part. Unlike most other courts, it’s made up of more than one species. Mostly, it’s made up of Pennangalan, Aswang, and Jiang-shi.”

“I’ve heard of one of those. Jiang-shi. They’re the hopping vampires of China?” Butters rubbed his chin.

“That’s how they are often portrayed, but what they can do varies based on how much and how recently they’ve fed. They’re similar to the Black Court, but more common than them these days, though mostly limited to China and Vietnam. They are indeed corpses that take sustenance from the living to keep going. Unlike the Black Court, they drain the life energy from a victim rather than blood, usually eye-to-eye contact. It takes a few seconds to establish a link, but it still makes fighting them when they are awake quite difficult. Especially for a magic-user.”

“So, what can they do?”

“Like almost every vampire, they’re strong, fast too. They use the life energy of others to repair the damage done to their corpse body as well as get certain things to work. A weak Jiang-shi hops about blindly with its claws outstretched trying to sniff out its next meal, deaf and mute too. They may look silly, but they move as fast as the Reds can even with only their nose to guide them. And they can smell the breath of a person almost a half-mile away and use it to navigate pretty darn well. Though they don’t hop more than a foot off the ground, it’s really short bursts of hovering. Once full, they hover full time and even gain back their other senses and their voice.”

“I suppose you use those paper spells to stop them.”

“That’s one method, yes, but the movies always gloss over the details.”

“Such as?”

“It has to be held in place by sticky rice, and it works best if the ink is mixed with Chicken blood and the ashes of a burnt paper talisman. And that won’t stop them, it will bind them to the will of a magician. It’s a weakness they fear greatly, especially since many were ancient alchemists who found a way to gain Immortality and really don’t want to give up any autonomy.”

Butters nodded, “All that work and they end up someone else’s servant.”

“A powerful servant at that. Though the rice tends to lose stickiness with time and use, so it’s not a permanent solution. Most of the weaknesses of the Jiang-shi only delay or repel them. Mirrors, holy symbols, the cry of a rooster, acupuncture along the back, crippling OCD when it comes to counting seeds, beans, and straw bundles--”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, and also hilariously! It annoys them to no end. Even in the middle of a fight, you throw a bunch of beans at them and they have to stop everything to pick them up!”

Butters rocked in his chair a little, bringing his fingers up to his mouth.

“If not for the straw, I’d say they were sucking the life out of the beans and see them as a better food source.”

“A sound theory,” Bob said.

“I just hope to never need to test it.” Buttes chuckled, “So how do you kill them?”

“Beat them to death with a stonemason’s awl or weapons made of peachwood. Fire too, but keep in mind that many of them are also warlocks on top of being vampires, so there are other things to worry about beyond just their undeath. That’s why most hunters wait for them to go to sleep before attacking them. Then, the best way is to remove his left sock, put a mushroom in it and throw it in a river.”

Butters blinked. “You’re making that up.”

“Nope!” Bob tittered, “I think the original alchemists who created the spell to make Jiang-shi included that part intentionally just to make sure no one would believe they had a weakness that ridiculous! Besides, spells like that need an escape clause to continue their operation over a long period of time. Otherwise, the energy costs would be far too great for any practical use.”

Butters nodded, “Is it true that a simple scratch can turn a person into one?”

“Thankfully no, but any person drained of life by them has a good chance of rising as a servitor Jiang-shi. The two most common ways are to bury a corpse in a very insulting manner or a sorcerer performing a ritual to become one on their death. This means that the most powerful of them, and the highest-ranking, are also sorcerers.”

“Okay, what about the others?”

“Pennangallan or Nuricabe are floating heads. By day, they are regular people. At night, they find a secluded spot, separate their head from their body and go out to drink blood, eat fetuses, and generally cause mayhem.”

Bob blinked, “Eat fetuses?”

“They seem to consider it a delicacy or something,” Bob said, “Lot of power to be gained from that sort of thing.”


Bob shuddered, but then thought, “I wonder how many work in abortion clinics.”

“Not as many as you might think from what I hear tell. Most operate in countries that don’t really condone most forms of birth control.”

“So, what else can they do?”

“Well, aside from being flying heads, many drag along their entrails to use to entangle attackers. They have a sedating gaze to make attacking easier. Some drip poisonous black ooze which causes venomous faerie thorns to grow up when they wish it, with a paralytic alkaloid toxin on top of it. They’re strong for their size and extremely durable. As long as they are a floating head, they are almost unstoppable.”

Butters nodded, “And the almost part?”

“If they stay detached past dawn, they can be burned away like any unprotected spirit would be. If you find the body, you can either destroy it, hide it, or put vinegar or ash over the neck-hole to make sure they can’t re-attach easily. Holy weapons work well against them, naturally. But the easiest way is Stingray venom.”

“Stingray venom?”


“Instantly lethal. Even a dry and desiccated stinger carries enough of the stuff in a metaphysical sense to drop them no problem.”

“How do they spread?”

“They are only women, so any woman killed by a Pennangallan will revive and become one. Some believe a ritual exists to turn a person into one, but that’s only a rumor.”

“And the last variety?”

“Aswang, another ‘vampire warlock’ situation. Because of the variety of magic in the world, there is a lot of variety to them. The key here is their feeding method. They have a big tongue that they can reach out and grab people with, draining from about 6ft away.”

“Like in The Strain?”

“Pretty much. They’re strong, tough, and undead, with claws to match those of the red court.”

“And to stop them?”

“Destroy the heart or head to drop them. They catch fire pretty well and are harmed by holy objects. They’re also repelled by strong cooking herbs, like garlic.”

“That’s a weird mix of features,” Butters said.

“The large number of cultures influencing the Philippines allowed them to find weaknesses in their local monsters that others wouldn’t think of trying.”

Butters nodded, “Humans work best when working together and sharing ideas.”

Bob’s eyes gleamed, “Exactly! It’s the best advantage humans have.”

“Okay, what about the other types?”

“The only other major court is found in India, The Diamond Court -- many facets of one whole as they put it. In fact, a lot of vampire activity is in India. That they are a unified court of any kind only serves to hide the variety they have. This includes the Vetala or Vampire Fiend which is more common in the Americas, Europe, and Africa than its origin might place it. These are similar to black court vampires, but instead of a spirit animating its own corpse, it’s a demonic spirit doing the driving.”

“That,” Butters said, “Sounds like it’s a little bit worse.”

“In many ways, it is.” Bob said, “They’re strong, fast, tough, and even though they are living corpses, they can heal themselves as fast as faeries can form non-iron injuries. Faster if they feed enough. Bullets generally don’t cause them any real inconvenience unless the shot blasts their head off or is of high enough caliber. They are instinctively good at hand to hand combat, can see well in the dark, scent blood about a mile off, and each vampire has some sort of mental connection to the vampires it makes, and those that made it, though things are a little sketchy around that part.”

“Pretty straight forward, what else?”

“They can disguise themselves as humans relatively well. Only a lack of heartbeat and their cool bodies give them away. Of course, when they bring out their fangs, they look very inhuman.”

“How?”

“Face gets all predatory. Scowly brow ridge and they just don’t have large canines, but slicing pre-canines and incisors too.”


Butters thought for a second, “Must give them a hell of a lisp.”

“Sometimes,” Bob admitted, “But make no mistake, they are dangerous. They can reproduce quickly -- anyone drained and given the blood of a vampire fiend will rise as one in a few days. They’re like roaches. You see one, ”

“They definitely sound like bad news,” Butters said, “And stopping them?”

“That’s the good news!” Bob said, “They have most of the Stoker classics, but not as extreme as the Black Court. Holy water, holy symbols, fire, sunlight, decapitation, garlic, and wood.”

“Wood?”

Bob titered, “Shove a wooden stake at their heart and it goes in like a hot knife through butter. And when they die, the demonic spirit grabs as much energy as it can and flees back into the never-never, vaporizing the corpse on the spot.”

Butters pulled back a little, “They explode?!”

“You have quite an imagination, there,” Bob said, “But no, they just crumble into dust. Usually, as the demon screams its way back to the never-never.”

“Convenient,” Butters said.

“The other vampires of India seem to derive from that template to some degree or another. Though most of the others browbeat the Vampire fiends into serving them, and the only reason why any of them have any Accords presence at all. The vetala are just too savage to organize on their own.”

“Thank goodness for small favors,” Butters sighed.

“The churel are not much more advanced than the vetala but have a more horrifying visage when they put on their game faces. They also tend to hang around crematoriums to eat the mourners.”

Butters thought for a minute, “This has something to do with the whole Caste system doesn’t it.”

“Indeed it does,” Bob said, “I love how clever you can be!”

“But there’s more to go on with, just like the Caste system, that’s just the bottom rung. The Pischaca are more like the Black Court, looking like rotting corpses at the start. Some have learned illusory magic to cover it up, but mostly, they’re bloodsucking corpses full on. They can also spread diseases rather well.”

Bob sighed, “Well, at least that one won’t be as scary as some of the things I’ve already seen.”

“The Baital,” Bob continued, “Are, in a sense, Vetala who are able to leave their host body and find a new one. They appear as demonic, large, bat-like monsters with lots of horns on their faces. They use corpses like other spirits use ectoplasmic constructs.”

“Something tells me,” Butters said, “That they probably have accumulated a lot of occult power and knowledge to pull something like that off.”

“Bingo,” Bob said, “They are extremely rare, mostly it takes over 2 thousand years for a vampire to gather the power to do that, and the few that do live that long sometimes are too attached to the physical world to consider trying it. As far as records show, there are currently only 5 Baital in existence.”

“And killing them?”

“The rising sun.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

Butters sighed, “Glad they’re so rare.”


“But even they aren’t the highest of the Vampire Court in India,”

“They aren’t!?” Butters squeaked.

“No, that honor goes to the Dakini. Basically vampire angels.”

Butters thought for a moment. A thousand questions raced across his mind, so he grabbed one: “How?”

“They are semi-divine beings that developed a taste for human blood,” Bob said, “They come to people in dreams, entice them in with their oh-so-lovely bodies.” Bob tittered, “Before using their abilities to control people’s dreams and turn them into nightmares. They can read people’s souls, and tend to be a little faster and tougher than the average vampire of similar ages. And they tend to be older than some civilizations.”

“Yikes,” Butters said, “That’s… That’s bad.”

“And because of their nature, they are indifferent to Holy Symbols and holy effects. A blessed blade against them is just a regular blade. Still dangerous, but not as dangerous as it is for other vampires. Thankfully, there are not many of them, and most of them have” Bob’s eyes flicked, searching for the word, “Converted.”

“Converted?” Butters said, “To what?”

“Some serve the goddess Durga,” Bob said, “Rumor is they owe her a debt and now they serve her to repay it, going into people’s dreams and laying bare their flaws. Supposedly to spark improvement in a mortal’s life, but they take a little too much joy in it.”

“And what do the others do?”

“They’re Buddhist nuns now.”

Again, Butters’ mind raced with questions, and it took him a moment to grab one “What?”

“They converted to Buddhism, only take energy from those willing to offer it, and generally try to be helpful semi-divine beings that just so happen to need the energy of beings capable of dreaming to continue functioning.”

“Moving on,” Butters said.

“Africa is a weird place for Vampires. A lot of them got brought over to the Americas thanks to the slave trade, but they don’t really go in for a full organization most of the time. Soucouyant are one example. Also called an Obayifo or Asema, it disguises itself as a human during the day. At night, it takes off the skin and reveals itself.”

“Takes off its skin?”

“Like changing clothes to them,” Bob said, “Anyway, their true form resembles a water flea, but with arms and legs. Opaque, so you can see all its organs, which glow with internal power.”

“Bioluminescence?”

“Bingo. They have sharp twin proboscis to drain blood from a victim and stun their prey via electrical shocks. Their bodies are round and fat but can squeeze into holes a mouse could use. And they can fly.”

“How fast?”

Bob paused a moment, thinking, “About forty miles an hour.”

“Yeesh,” Butters sighed, “How are they made.”

“Dark rituals, mostly,” Bob said, “So each one is likely a warlock on top of everything else.”

“And to stop them?”

“Like pennangallan, Sunlight is the main way to stop them. Either keep them out in sunlight via their crippling OCD over counting rice, or find the skin and either hide it or fill it with salt or other common metaphysical irritants or disruptors to make it unwearable. Then the sunrise will do the rest.”

“Well,” Butters said, “At least a lot of the prep work has overlap.”

“True,” Bob said, “It helps with the storage.”

“What else?”

“Sassambonsam,” Bob said, “Or Asanbosam. The name depends on the region, really. These are one of the most ancient vampire species known. The oldest name we have a reference for this variety is Yulsercë. Blood Drinker. Unlike every other ‘vampire’ they do not in any way related to humans. They are demons, pure and simple. They normally take the form of giant bats, twenty feet or more wingspans. They can take human form, and their claws and teeth are as hard as steel.”

“Pretty straight forward,” Butters said, “I bet there’s more to it than that.”

“Much more,” Bob said, “Because they are ancient demonic entities, they usually know quite a few magical tricks, usually related to wind, draining energy, poisonous gasses, sonic attacks, and blood magic.”

“Oy vey,” Butters sighed.

“Very Oy.”

“How do you stop them?”

“Sunlight, Fire, stabbing them in the heart, or using blessed weapons and holy magic.”

“Again, standard at this point,” Butters said, “Is there something else to it?”


“Thankfully, no, they’re bad enough as it is,” Bob waited a moment and added, “Though I do appreciate the skepticism.”

“Okay, what else is out there?”

“There’s the Blue Court, the Nosferatu, the sawtoothed, and the one-offs.”

“One-offs?”


“Vampire species that are so rare they might as well be a single individual. Might as well talk about extinct species like the Reapers, or Turok-Han.”

“Okay, let’s keep going as before. Largest to smallest.”

“Right-O, boss!” Bob chirped. “That means the Blue Court. They are the most troublesome of all vampires, at least in terms of explaining it. There’s an occult detective in LA, MacDonald, I think, he had a saying for this sort of thing: ‘There’s no set of rules. Some monsters have all the trappings of the legends, and some don’t.’ and the blues put the truth for that.”

“What do you mean by that?” Butters asked.

“Generally, Blues can have all the powers and weaknesses of a Black Court vampire, but not only do they look like regular humans until they get angry and their eyes go bloodshot red and their fangs grow out like they’re in a Hammer production, but they can have more powers and fewer weaknesses.”

“How does that work?” Butters rocked in his chair again.

“Remember when I said that the Jiang-shi started as alchemists looking for immortality?”

“Yeah?”

“Same idea with the Blues, but a different group of warlocks sought immortality and turned themselves into vampires to do it. Same with the weaknesses.”

“They alter the spell animating their bodies? That’s…”

“Potent.”

“Also insane.”

“That too,” Bob said, “Usually, they’ll make a bloodline with what they’ve figured out, with only the smartest, oldest, and most powerful being able to modify it. So, when facing the blues, you never quite know what to expect.”

“Lovely,” Butters sighed.

“Thankfully,” Bob said, “They’re mostly limited to Europe and are so self-indulgent that they barely make any moves on the world stage. Even better, because of their focus on bloodlines, they are very, very bad at organizing beyond their immediate families.”

“So, not likely to show up in Chicago?”

“Once in a blue moon at best.”

“Alright, so, Nosferatu?”

“You’ve seen the movie, basically that,” Bob said, “They’re physically stronger and faster than most other vampire species, plague spreaders, and if they establish a group, they can form a hive mind. They can be killed with fire, decapitation, and sunlight.”

“Pretty easy to understand,” Butters said, “Maybe not to deal with, but to understand. Next?”

“Sawtooth vampires are very rare. Almost extinct,” Bob said, “Easy to spot once they get their fangs out, due to the fact their ‘fangs’ makes their mouth look like that of a great white shark. They are similar in abilities and power to the fiend vampires, but they aren’t as bulletproof and they have to feed on the blood of the living. Dead blood is toxic to them. Even better, hit them hard enough with anything and they’ll go down.”

“So, that trash compactor trap we talked about?” Butters smiled.

“Totally viable!” Bob said, “But they are rare, so we’ll keep it on the back burner for now.”

“Okay, so what’s left?” Butters asked.

“Just the one-offs you’re unlikely to ever meet,” Bob said, “Ya know, Blue court Dhampyres, Daywalkers, Vampirella.”

“Wait, what?” Butters leaned forward, his arms stuck in mid-air as he took in that information, “That’s … Vampirella?”

Bob sighed wistfully, “Yeah. Lovely woman, really. And her Boobs!”

“She’s...” Butters stammered a little, “She’s a comic book character!”

“And,” Bob said, “A beautiful vampire who really hates other vampires.”

“Wha-” Butters rubbed his face with one hand, “How?”

“How does she work, or how did she get a comic book deal?”


Butters thought and said, “Both.”


“Well,” Bob said, “She’s basically a corporeal demon from deep within the Nevernever. She drinks blood, but because her home realm had blood flowing in rivers, she never had to take lives to feed and views the act of doing so as abhorrent.”

“That makes some sense,” Butters said, “And her powers?”


“Well,” Bob sighed, “Comics do exaggerate things, but she is strong, fast, tough, and regenerative. She has claws, fangs, wings that she can retract, as well as some minor mesmeric abilities.”

“Like the Black court?”

“Thankfully, no,” Bob said, “What she can do is closer to hypnotism than domination.”

Butters thought and said, “So, she can’t get you to do something that you wouldn’t do normally.”

“By and large, yes,” Bob said, “It’s still very grey magically speaking. If she were human, of course.”

“It feels weird to ask, but does her kind of vampire have any weaknesses?”

“If you knew about her mother, you wouldn’t think so,” Bob said, “But yes. Generally, the vampire weaknesses that would get a normal human killed -- fire, decapitation, that sort of thing.”

“Okay,” Butters said, “I get that. Now the difficult thing -- she’s a comic book character!”

“You and the Alpha’s helped Harry out with that RPG, remember?”

“That’s different,” Butters said with less conviction than he thought he would have at first, the words dying as he heard them.

“Same idea, really. She found herself a writer, told him her story, and got a licensing deal out of it to help fund her hunting. And she kept the stories coming to keep the series going. It’s not that uncommon.”

Butters started to ask one question, thought better of it, and said, “Any other examples?”

“Well, among vampires at least…. There’s Eric Brooks, Chastity Marks, Lestat de Lioncourt,” Bob said, “Though there is a lot of stuff out there being published at the behest of the vampire courts to put out propaganda for their own side. They have Anite Blake, Sookie Stackhouse, and -- ”

“If you say Twilight’s based on true events--”

Bob snorted, “Thankfully, no. It’s still White Court Vampires playing the same notes Phantom of the Opera did back in the 80s. Desperate housewives are always a keen target. Blake and Stackhouse, though, those are real people. The details are usually changed to tell better stories, but the people, places, and at least some of the events really do occur.”

“So, they’re propagandizing for the vampires?” Butters said.

“Anita bound herself to the White Court when her Ectomancy got her in trouble with the White Council,” Bob said, “Stackhouse’ not-so-nice Faerie relations are kept at bay by one of the Blue Court families. It’s how they pay for their protection, at least in part.”

Butters’ face scrunched up a bit as he forced the conversation elsewhere, “Lestat is real? What’s he?”

“Again, White Court,” Bob said, “One of the rare Whites that does drink blood from what I’ve heard. Every bit as an egocentric and self-centered person as you might come to expect, though he has taken up the habit of ‘husbanding humans. Like a lot of these works, they’re filled with half-truths and exaggerations.”

“But don’t some of those books have all this,” Butters motioned to the paranormal paraphernalia they’d gathered, “Out in the open?”

Bob sighed, “Like I said, half-truths and exaggerations to play into their propaganda..”

Butters nodded “If vampires are shown to be out in the open and part of everyday life in those stories, it makes it easier for them to lure in prey and get people to gloss over the whole ‘eating people’ thing much more easily.”

“Exactly,” Bob said.

“Now books I can understand, movies too,” Butters said, “But comics? I still think that’s a bit of a stretch.” Butters chuckled and said, “Next you’ll tell me superheroes are real!”

Bob’s eyes shifted, “Well…”
ISARMA: Daikaiju Coordinator: Just Add Radiation
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Browncoat
Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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