- Late one Sunday afternoon Conrad gets a call from his Union Rep, Cesar Contadino. Cesar tells Conrad he has a small mission he’d like him to take up, in exchange for previous Union support and equipment. Cesar’s been hearing rumors that there might be something up with the hairstylist and hunter known as Sebastian Grendulsun… something particularly devious if the rumors are to be believed. He asks if Conrad would be kind as to shadow Grendulsun that evening. Conrad reluctantly agrees.
- Conrad then spends most of the evening hanging around Pearl Street, biding his time until he knows Sebastian’s hair salon, A Cut Above, closes. While there, he runs into Diederik Michaelis, an author and hunter of the supernatural that Conrad has more than a passing admiration for. He puts two and two together that the 19 year old girl with Mr. Michaelis is his daughter AND the girl Conrad encountered very briefly at Blackmoon Farm. Exploiting a golden opportunity, Mr. Michaelis is anxious to see Fae learn the ropes in the hunting world and suggests Fae tag along with Conrad on his next assignment. Conrad, looking to get in the professor’s good graces, tells him that he’s tracking someone that afternoon as a matter of fact and that Fae is welcome to join him. Fae’s father has no reservations about this and, leaving Fae with Conrad, takes Fae’s younger brother off to get a haircut at A Cut Above.
- Late afternoon eventually falls and with it come the exiting salon employees for the day. They say their goodbyes and head off to the cars, leaving Sebastian upstairs to finish paperwork. While Fae and Conrad are struggling to chit chat, a terrified young boy around 8 years old runs for his life and bumps into Conrad. “Get them away from me! Please mister!” he yells and darts into A Cut Above’s backdoor.
- Sebastian is startled by the noise and descends from the upstairs office to see what’s going on.
- A few minutes later two men in suits approach the back alley, asking Conrad if he’s seen anyone fitting the boy’s description. Conrad says he hasn’t and asks what it’s about. The gentlemen tell him that the boy is part of a school field trip and has wandered off. “We just want to get him back to the bus as soon as possible”. Conrad, curious that school chaperones are dressed like Wall Street traders, asks if they have a card. They hand him one and he tells them between cigarette drags that if he sees the kid, he’ll call their number immediately. The men leave.
- Once they’re sure the men are out of earshot, Fae and Conrad then sneak into A Cut Above. Sebastian confronts them all with the overhead lights and the boy panics, trying to escape. Fae manages to calm him down long enough to ask him what he’s running from. To which the boy replies “They have my sister! They were going to kill me and I had to get away! Please help me! They have my sister!” before breaking into sobs. Fae comforts him and asks him his name: Randall, he tells her between tears.
- Fae, having worked with Sebastian before in the Sewer Billy incident and at Blackmoon Farm, introduces Conrad to him. The three agree that they need Randall’s help locating where his sister is being held.
- Sebastian offers to drive and, after closing the shop, takes them through some of the posher neighborhoods off Mapleton Ave. Eventually Randall nails down the house, a large two story manse with an extremely high privacy fence.
- Sebastian parks the car and while Fae stays with Randall, he and Conrad approach the house and knock. A man in a shirt and tie answers, asking what they want. Conrad says that he’s a private investigator, looking into the disappearance of a missing child. The man curtly responds that there are no children in his house, that it’s shared only by him and his roommates and abruptly closes the door.
- Unable to get the man to answer the door again, Sebastian and Conrad creep about the house, looking for a sneakier way in. They eventually find a window on the side of the house and manage to pry it open. Scoping out the rooms and avoiding what seems to be people inside the house, Conrad and Sebastian find a bedroom with what looks like heavy foot traffic to its closet. Unfortunately their movement has alerted two individuals to their presence.
- Two men enter the bedroom and a fight begins. Sebastian manages to down and cut the throat of one of them while Conrad manages to shoot the other. While Conrad goes off to check on any further obstacles, Sebastian quickly checks to see if there’s a secret passage to this closet. And sure enough there is.
- He descends down a now revealed stairwell into a stone basement area that stinks of urine, feces and blood. Lit with dim light, he manages to make out 2 cages where eight children, most of them wasted and thin, are being kept. Sebastian asks if any of them know a Randall and one girl, older than most those with her, exclaims “Yes! That’s my little brother. I’m Mary.”
- Fae meanwhile has heard gunshots and tells Randall to stay in the car while she investigates. She approaches the front door but is threatened by a man with a gun to get into the house. She attempts to disarm but fails and after he threatens to shoot her if she doesn’t do what he says, she complies.
- Conrad meanwhile has shot and killed another armed man in the house. He manages to sneak out of sight of the fourth man, who has Fae by gunpoint. Then flanks him such that as Fae passes by the doorway Conrad is up against, the fourth man’s back is exposed to Conrad. He yells for Fae to duck and shoots the man point blank in the back of the skull, killing him instantly.
- Sebastian meanwhile has gathered the children together and made a mental note of what looks to be a blood caked altar not far from their cages. He shepherds them all up the stairs and out the window he and Conrad entered from. Conrad and Fae soon join them.
- Mary and Randall are reunited and the children are driven to Sebastian’s place, where they will stay until their parents are located. Fae offers to stay with Sebastian until the children are returned to their homes. Conrad contacts Cesar and fills him in on the complete story. Cesar tells Conrad the Union will do its best to clean up all evidence but that it will come at a price.
Blameless In Your Ways
The Sacrificial Manse
In which an inhuman discovery is made