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War Cry is a five-issue graphic novel mini-series published in 2014, written by authors Jim Butcher and Mark Powers, with pencils by Carlos Gomez, colors by Mohan, and letters by Bill Tortolini; the cover was done by Stjepan Sejic. It is set four months after Dead Beat.[1]

PlotEdit

The Red Court vampires and the White Council wizards are at war, and the vampires are winning. After a nasty assault on Palermo, Sicily by the vampires in which they employed Outsiders to attack, the wizards fled to a hospital in the Congo to recover. The vampires deployed "a nerve toxin, probably sarin (War Cry, p. 15)" against the hospital, killing 143 Wardens and thousands of bystanders.

As the White Council is shorthanded, Wardens Harry Dresden, Yoshimo, Carlos Ramirez, and Bill Meyers are tasked with helping a local group of Venatori Umbrorum escape from an impending Red Court attack in Montezuma, Iowa before nightfall. The Venatori are held up in a house near a quarry. Dresden's car breaks down before they can arrive, and the group runs the remaining distance. Without the car, the group arrives as night falls, and they defend the house from vampires from the outside. The Venatori inside assist from the windows with military-grade firearms, pushing back the first attack.

The attack stops suddenly, and Catherine Taylor takes the opportunity to invite the Wardens inside. Dresden gets a bad feeling, and quietly orders Ramirez to snoop around as soon as he can. Taylor introduces the remaining Venatori, including Mr. McGuckin, who was wounded in the neck in the opening attack. Dresden asks about possible transportation to help the group flee, but Taylor insists that they stay, supposedly because McGuckin can't be safely moved. The remaining members quickly agree, so the Wardens move to secure the building.

Outside, the Red Court prepares for another assault, but are unhurried, as they have all night to hound the Wardens. Shortly after, they begin throwing rocks at the house, scaring the Venatori. Wardens Meyers and Yoshimo defend the upper floor, and Meyers' left hand is smashed with a rock. It's bandaged and he fights on. The battle rages for a short while before the vampires call a temporary truce to try to bargain with Dresden outside. He accepts, trying to buy time for sunrise, and again orders Ramirez to discover why the house is being attacked in the first place.

Outside, the vampire Baron Bravosa exchanges banter with Dresden, who claims that he can't let Bravosa have what's in the house (a bluff, as he doesn't know what it is). Bravosa offers safe passage for the Wardens if they leave the house within 30 minutes, but no safety for the Venatori. Dresden refuses, and the vampire's stone throwing resumes.

Inside, Ramirez tells Dresden he needs to see what was found downstairs. Taylor tries to stop them, but Dresden demands to know what he's putting his life on the line for. She shows him: it's a huge frozen Shoggoth, an Outsider spawn that feeds on sentient beings. She tells Dresden and Ramirez that a mysterious cloaked figure demanded she keep it safe for the White Council.

Given the gravity of the threat, Dresden orders the Wardens to counter attack outside. As the team trades blows with the vampires, a human special agent breaks into the house, killing several Venatori. He forces the survivors to the basement with the Shoggoth before being killed himself.

A mysterious figure begins to attack the vampires. The figure reveals himself to be Thomas Raith, and claims the wizards are under his protection, stopping the fight for a few moments. Dresden quickly tells the other Wardens that Thomas, who he doesn't reveal is his half-brother, is a wonderful distraction for them to get back to the house. The wizards fight their way back, with Thomas following, and most make it inside. Ramirez and Yoshimo are split away by the Vampires, who hold back as Bravosa offers them power. They refuse, but remain the vampires' captives for the moment.

After some debate, Dresden and Thomas attempt an attack against the vampires to recover Ramirez and Yoshimo, but fail as dozens of human allies of the Red Court arrive. They're pushed back to the house as more soldiers attack Meyers and the Venatori inside. Meyers quickly uses earth magic to lift the collapsing house forty feet into the air on a small mountain, just as Dresden and Thomas manage to get back inside.

Bravosa threatens Dresden one final time, and Dresden calls for the Venatori to "...UNLEASH THE KRAKEN (War Cry, p. 126)!" The Shoggoth is loosed, and it charges the vampire front. Bravosa, expecting the mad move, reveals human agents of the White Court with flamethrowers, who quickly begin to burn the beast to hold it back.

Inside, the humans are losing their minds to the constant psychic screams of the Shoggoth. They overcome the sensations, and Dresden tells the few remaining Venatori left alive to flee while the vampires and Shoggoth are distracted. Dresden, Thomas and Meyers try to recover Ramirez and Yoshimo, but the vampires have already freed them to hold off the Shoggoth. With the last of each of their powers, Ramirez, Yoshimo and Meyers each give the Shoggoth their biggest magical punches, slowing the beast down. Dresden orders them to retreat and protect the Venatori, and tells them he and Thomas will finish the Outsider off.

Dresden tells Thomas to prepare all the explosives in the nearby quarry. Dresden himself is the bait, and lures the beast away from the others by calling it names. Bravosa, the last vampire who hasn't fled, claims that he doesn't care if the Shoggoth lives, just so long as the vampires can eat its scraps. Dresden, tired from the long fight, sucker punches Bravosa and uses wind magic to push the vampire baron into the Shoggoth. He loses a shoe in the struggle.

In the Quarry, Thomas has managed to prepare a massive pile of explosives like Dresden asked. Dresden sprints across the snowy rock quarry with his one lost shoe, and turns to watch as the Shoggoth oozes past the bomb. Thomas triggers the explosives, and they watch it burn until they're sure its dead.

The two of them return to the human survivors near the broken remains of the house, now just a small mountain with foundation built over it, and the group thanks Dresden for leading them. He reminds them that a White Council traitor was responsible for this, and the story ends in an office, where Samuel Peabody's nameplate reveals the one ultimately responsible.

ReferencesEdit