Being grounded to the Sept wasn’t the worst punishment in the world, but it certainly felt that way. I understood why they did it though. With so many things going on, it would be easy for any of the other Septs to blame us for their troubles. Still, the downtime did give me some time to take care of things.
I observed a lot during this time. The Vulture Walkers and Lion’s Vengeance packs ran bawn patrol during this time while the Irish Destroyers worked on the forge. Mackie cleaned with Sheeba and Jason while complaining about the lack of parties lately. Ryan and Leein continued working on the kin-fetch hunter spirits. It was something completely new and I hoped I might learn how to do it someday to help find pups in need.
The pack each had things they wanted to accomplish during this time. Born Twice worked on his combat maneuvers and Gina paid him a visit since he couldn’t leave. His brother Magnus stopped by and annoyed him briefly. He still wants to be a big brother to Bjorn, but Bjorn won’t let him. I’ll have to remember to talk to Bjorn about this sometime soon.
I continued my workouts with Stag’s Daughter and we invited Savage Heart to join us. She secretly informed us that she doesn’t believe Minotaur will let the Skin Dancers join the Nation. He acts like a tyrant mad king. I fear something will have to be done about him soon lest all our work be undone.
My father stopped by and I got to spend some time with him. We had a picnic together and I got to learn more about my mother. She was a Garou of two sides. While in the company of her pack she appeared stern and powerful, however, my father told me in private she was very loving and caring to him in spite of the fact it was for the pregnancy that led to me.
I managed to convince Lionheart to let me see Ryan. After some cajoling from Lindsey he agreed, but only if he shadowed me with Lindsey due to the threat of Alyssa and her hive. I took Ryan to the park, not wanting to deal with the pollution. Kenith was cheerful but cautious about all this, wanting to know just about every detail on where I was going. I assured him I was just taking him to the park to play. He relented and we went. However, Ryan seemed nervous and unsure. I wondered if he had ever even been to a park before. Still, it was good day and I was happy to have had it.
The next day, Magnus dropped by again with tacos from a local stand. They were pretty good. He talked about his ideas for getting a job. He figured he would get a low-level job and work his way up from there. He mentioned he was worried about his brother and I tried to comfort him that things were okay. Afterwards, he gave me a small kiss and was on his way. I think I should take the relationship to the next level. He doesn’t act like all the other guys I’ve met.
I checked in with Stag’s Daughter. She had been continuing her Rites. She was concerned about her lack of Rage and her reaction to our packmates he were ejected from the Battleground. Although I believed more Rage for her might be a benefit, I knew myself how destructive too much Rage can be seeing two members enter the Thrall of the Wyrm. She also noted a certain allure to the Black Spirals, their unity, and their mysterious ways. I admit, I also found them fascinating, but it was best to maintain a good distance in observation or be drawn into the Wyrm’s clutches.
Lionheart, when not accompanying me to see Ryan, spent a good deal of time with Q. The totem spirit remained neutral in his position to any conversation Lionheart spoke. He seemed to not take any one side, often repeating any statements or questions with more questions. The rest of the pack did a little training, but mostly just rested around the Sept.
As the downtime wound down, Eli and Bjorn had a discussion about Wrong Moon chasing after Killer-of-Dogs’ mother. While there was nothing stopping him from doing such a thing, if he was doing so to simply annoy his packmate it would be wrong. Wrong Moon lied about his intentions somewhat and Eli forbid him from seeing Maria unless he was truly intent on mating with her.
The next day, Lionheart returned with supplies while Stag’s Daughter, Savage Heart, and I returned from our daily exercises. A four-wheeler could be heard in the distance as Cliff approached. He asked Gina to go with Ariel to see the five kinfolk as Lindsey had some things to take care of. He also asked us to come to the lodge to see something. At the lodge, a TV announced that William’s “father” had made a bid on the land where the Sept was. There would be an audit in order to determine the land’s worth. I questioned whether this was wise because of the risk of Veil breaches and it effectively put a target on our location, but was dismissed at the notion by Eli.
Afterwards, Stag’s Daughter spoke to us about reentering the Battleground and seeing who slaughtered the Sept of the Stone Sea. There was discussion about the involvement of the Three Waters and the traitor, but it was unanimous that we would go. However, first we needed to take care of couple things.
Walks-With-Spirits mentioned that Ryan knew the Rite of Heritage and asked that it be used on Sheeba to determine her parentage. It was deemed dishonorable to do so unless Sheeba herself asked that it be used. I still wondered who her parents were. I felt it would be useful to know who they were. Maybe they could lead us to the traitor, but it was best not to worry about it at the moment.
Eli spoke with Crafty about the audit. He told us he would keep things contained as much as possible. We wouldn’t have to worry much considering the size of the park.
After this, we headed back to the Battleground. Killer-Of-Dogs managed to find the battle we were looking for. We watched the Sept of the Stone Sea going about their business until out of nowhere, six Garou came out of the Umbra and slaughtered them. There wasn’t even a fight. It was completely dishonorable and the Sept couldn’t even defend themselves.
After the battle, one of them shifted into Homid revealing Prestige, which was not surprising. He spoke to one of the Garou who shifted down to reveal Hansen McDoogle of the Gaia’s Wraith pack. He told him to purify the area of Wyrm taint and they will be compensated. We all knew there was no Wyrm taint, but it could not be determined whether Prestige was the traitor or simply duped into destroying the Sept. Either way, we had our first lead to go on and the direct notion who not to trust.
Afterwards, we returned to our battle with the Black Spiral Dancers last week to view our tactics. It was agreed we needed to do more things together as a pack in order to work better as a unit.
Once back at the Sept, we decided to check the Talen bottle quest and find the next clue:
With an enemy’s mutual hate; you shall take the time to build
To change one another’s fate; the enemy shall shield
Then torch this parchment to reveal
Your reward you shall unseal
Stag’s Daughter determined that we needed to ally ourselves with an enemy against another enemy. They would hold onto the parchment. Once trust is earned with this enemy, they will burn the parchment revealing the fetish we have been questing for.
That night, we ran together, howling at the moon in our first group workout. Afterwards, we went to bed.
At about 3 in the morning, Eli heard an unknown howl. After waking us up, we headed to the source of the howl. On the way, we passed the Lion’s Vengeance pack heading to the cabin. Agnis and Bjorn broke off and headed with them. After talking with the elders, we were all to gather at the cabin.
Mackie didn’t seem very happy when we returned. He told us we weren’t his first choice for this, but we would have to do. The Sept of the Raging Storm had a member who needed help, but could not ask their Sept for it. Although he thinks a large group might be intimidating, he thought it might be good for us.
Heading to the location given to us took nearly an hour and a half. We found ourselves in the mountains across Highway 9. There, we came across a woman named Tale Catcher and her wolf kin. She asked us for a favor. Her stepsister Serenity was not blood and could not deal with the Garou lifestyle. The Veil had been lifted for herself and her mother. It had come to Tale Catcher’s attention through another Garou that Serenity was in the process of being possessed. She wanted us to help her.
After being given the address located in Santa Cruz, we returned to the Sept to speak with Ryan about possession. The outlook wasn’t pleasant. He told us Gaian spirits don’t use possession as it is a forceful violation. There are only three ways to deal with it. Kill the host or the spirit possessing them. Either way both will die. The second was to use the gift of exorcism, which none of us had, but it required healers as the process severely damages and usually kills the host. Finally, we could remove the victim from the influence that brought the spirit on and hope it gives up.
Heading to Serenity’s place, we found her mother about to leave in a rundown van. Agnis approached her and asked if we could go inside. She agreed to it and we headed in. There, we found Serenity who was a bit younger than us. She was playing video games and obviously didn’t want to be disturbed, cursing us out when we called for her. Upon realizing we weren’t her mother, she stopped playing the game.
Talking with her, we got the distinct feeling she was becoming something of a temptress as she was very coy with Miguel. William rooted around in her room, attempting to check out her video games. I detected Wyrm taint in the room, which in hindsight was fairly obvious. Still, as William moved a pair of her panties from the console, he heard Serenity’s voice in his head. It appeared the possession had gotten far enough along that she was beginning to exhibit powers.
Realizing it was the technology after Agnis checked the Umbra, we decided to get her away from the area. We opted to take her to where the Sept of the Stone Sea used to be and have her camp there for at least a couple of weeks. We would warn her mother as well just in case. John and Jonathon would take first watch making sure no technology is nearby. Hopefully, this would stop the possession.
After taking care of Serenity, we headed back to the Sept where Ariel and Gina gave us the rundown on the five kinfolk Stained Coat had sent over. The outlook wasn’t good. They had been abused, used, and abandoned by Septs who cared little for their kinfolk. Honestly, I sort of agreed they should get what they wanted. It wasn’t the right thing to think, but kinfolk should be treated with respect, not tossed away like equipment.
It was obvious Kirsten wanted Eli sexually. This put him in a uncomfortable position as he knew that Lindsey wouldn’t take kindly to the idea of sharing. Taking William aside, Bjorn and I convinced him to vie for her affections. I hope that this would prevent any conflict and keep Kirsten from becoming a Skin Dancer. The rest of the feast went smoothly after that.
In the middle of the night, Cliff came by on four-wheeler again. It was an emergency and Eli needed to head to Lindsey’s house right away. Eli went, but not before asking us to be on standby in case something happened.
Inside Lindsey’s house, a woman in a top hat and covered in blood sat with Lindsey. Infuriated, but not willing to risk Lindsey’s safety, Eli asked what the woman wanted. Her name was Massacre and she needed a favor from our pack. There had been other Garou wandering onto her domain and she wanted them gone. She mentioned the names Gretchen and Mordecai, one of which was familiar to us. Apparently, Gretchen and Mordecai had entered into an agreement to work with each other.
The terms of the agreement with Massacre were to never enter the Hunter Hill Winery district and never sell our land. The last part was very curious to me. Why would she be concerned about us selling our land? In exchange for doing this, she would help us in ways that she was capable of like money or information.
Eli asked what if he just killed her right then. Massacre promptly mentioned that she had implanted a command into Lindsey that she would kill herself and her baby if she did not return in two days. The mention of a baby took Eli back and made him pause for a moment. After this, Massacre ordered Lindsey to go to her bedroom and sleep.
Caught in a rock and a hard place, Eli agreed to consider the arrangement only if she returned to remove the command. Massacre then left right before we arrived. Waking Lindsey up, we talked for a while about her pregnancy. It was the reason she didn’t go to interview the new kinfolk. After chatting for a little while, we let go back to bed, the incident being wiped from her mind by Massacre and not causing any emotional turmoil.
Returning to the Sept, we found Cliff with Ariel. Ariel had just had a vision of violence in the city that spreads further until it engulfs everything. It sounded like a vision of the Apocalypse. We must stop it…