It would be ten days before our next mission as a pack. We spent the time doing the things we wanted or loved most. Born Twice spent some time with Gina before working on learning the Rite of Binding from Leein. I would have trained him, but I had my own business to take care of. Before the moot he would have to create a Talen for her as he currently lacked the ability. He opted to create a Wind Snorkel to which the air spirit he bound requested he fill another non-pack Garou full of pride.
Stag’s Daughter continued training her hardest. I spent most of the week with her, but I would have to isolate myself to do what I needed to in the Sept. She learned a kinfolk Gift and accepted the chiminage from Cat to explore everything. It was obvious Agnis wanted to have the kinfolk learn whatever gifts they were capable of.
Wrong Moon suffered nightmares of his First Change. He saw the ghost of his real father and the ghost gave him a quest. He would have to take a piece of redwood and burn it with his pack to learn the Gift of Dreamspeak. Wrong Moon seemed shaken from the experience, something most of us had never seen.
Lionheart spent most of the time being with Lindsey and his child and learning Gifts. He would have to let his Rage go over three nights with no control to learn Heart of Fury. His next chiminage was to rub earth on his for seven days in both the material and umbral realms to learn the Gift Troll Skin.
I found myself learning Baptism of Fire from Leein for my healing Talen. I also went to see Ryan, but he wasn’t there. He had gone on a trip to Europe for the time being. Saddened, Magnus took me to a restaurant, but I couldn’t tolerate the city anymore. Upset, I returned to the Sept to consider what to do. I decided not to summon my mother in my current emotional state and settled for sleeping in the Sept.
As I slept in the Sept, I dreamed of the past. I saw Daniel again as a young man. I watched him pursue my mother, forming a pack along the way. I saw the betrayal by his former packmate, Prescott Solomon, and felt the searing pain of my mother’s death. More than ever I wanted to confront Daniel about it. I could see the pain and sadness in his eyes, but couldn’t bring myself to talk to him.
With our downtime closing, we awoke on the 14th to a visitor to the Sept. It was a Wendigo Theurge named Learns-From-Crows. In exchange for sleeping in our Sept, he wanted to train Agnis and myself in the knowledge of Epiphs. Epiphs were pocket realms created by strong emotions or other powerful ideas. It is believed by some that the Near Realms were created by a collision of various Epiphs.
Agreeing to his terms, he took Agnis and I into an Epiph of jealousy. It was an odd white room with red chairs that didn’t obey the laws of physics. I could feel my jealousy for the Wendigo, but I couldn’t understand why. We sat in the chairs there for a short time before the feeling overwhelmed me. Finally, Learns-From-Crows took us back into the Prenumbra. He told us it is important to learn the signs of being in an Epiph because you can lose yourself and become trapped in one. He also told one can always escape an Epiph back in the Prenumbra provided you realize you are in one. He finally told us of Glens and Blights and what they represented.
After we were done with this, the Moot took place later in the evening. There was quite a bit of business to discuss. The Truth Hunters had been inducted into the Sept. However, oddly, unlike before we had no say in their induction.
It was certain now that the Sept of the Angry Earth fell due to Black Spirals. It was also certain that the Ahroun and the Pride Slayers were involved. The Sept of the Three Waters was looking, but had no leads currently. It would be imperative to find the Ronin Garou.
Mackie then told us about the Silver Record and what it was. Many Garou had different ideas of what it was, but it was mostly a collection of records, guides, glyphs, and poems. It wasn’t exactly a static collection of stories. There were passages about learning gifts as well.
Ryan told us that Roedeer, Elk, and White Lion have reunited. The Hand of the Fionn and the Truth Hunters were being sent on a spirit quest in secret. We would learn what they were doing after they had accomplished it.
Learns-From-Crows thanked us for our hospitality and hoped to visit our Sept in the future. It was obviously brown nosing, but we were grateful for his knowledge and hoped to see him again soon.
Finally, after the kin were let in, Gina informed everyone that she was pregnant. I was happy for her, but saddened that I had not gotten pregnant. I still didn’t give up and continued to try with Magnus that night. We drank, sang, and enjoyed the rest of the night.
The next morning, we had a familiar visitor. Rage Heart had returned. Rage Heart explained where he had been for all this time. He went to the Sept of the Raging Storm. Although he never became a formal member there, they assisted him in controlling his Rage by immersing him in the Battleground. This tempered him to which even Wrong Moon attempted to aggravate him to no success. He wanted to rejoin the pack and we were willing to accept him in.
Crafty had told us he wanted us to take care of the Pride Slayers, but we wanted to get Wrong Moon’s Gift out of the way. We opted to quickly take care of this. Sitting down, Wrong Moon burned the bark while we drifted off to sleep.
We found ourselves standing outside of a carnival. The place looked somewhat sinister. Standing at the entrance was Mackie. Admission was only ten cents, which oddly we all had in our hands. Mackie split himself in two and led us into the carnival. He directed us to see the house of mirrors.
We entered and made our way through the first room. Here we came across a plain looking mirror. It was the Mirror of Regret.
Wrong Moon looked into the mirror first. He saw his first girlfriend from before the First Change mauled. She yelled at him for killing her. Wrong Moon pleaded with her that it wasn’t his fault, but the image would not stop yelling at him. Oddly, we could not see what he saw in the mirror.
Bjorn looked into the mirror next. He saw Shannon Johnson, the kinfolk we saved from being beaten by Lightning Claws. She scolded him for not intervening and simply taking No-Hands-Catches-Fish’s word on the matter being handled. She was beaten and raped to death because of his inaction.
Stag’s Daughter looked into the mirror next. She saw her parents yelling at her for running away during her First Change and letting them die at the hands of the Black Spirals.
I looked into the mirror next and only saw Ryan. He cried and told me that I had given up on him. He said he hated me. I broke down crying and Bjorn tried to comfort me because of it.
John looked into the mirror next and saw Regina Sanders. She left her husband for him. When he never came back she took to drinking. She got drunk one night and wrecked her car, killing her in the accident.
Rage Heart stared into the mirror and saw a friend named Saqui who had been shunned because he offered to help Rage Heart when no one else would. He was angry that Rage Heart returned to those that had failed him and neglected him. Rage Heart angrily smashed the mirror in response only for it to rebuild itself.
Lionheart saw Rage Heart staring back at him for not coming for him.
With our regrets faced, we moved onto the next room with another plain mirror. This was the Mirror of Doubt.
Lionheart went first and saw his packmates dead at his feet. Lionheart unleashed his Rage on the mirror as Rage Heart held us back. It took nearly an hour for him to wear himself out, but he finally ran out of energy.
Bjorn went next and saw Lionheart in front of all the Garou in the Sept. He was now leader of the Sept and had taken Gina as his mate. He shoke his head and moved on.
John saw the death of Jonathon and his leaving the campsite because he was hungry.
Stag’s Daughter saw herself surrounded by spirits as the pack was calcified by them. The spirits would not acknowledge her existence.
Wrong Moon saw himself covered in scars, cowering in a corner. Bitch of the Wyrm was there as she belittled him and then proceeded to get him aroused.
Rage Heart saw himself leaving the pack again to which we all changed into Saqui.
I saw myself leaving the Sept as Garou pelted me with random objects. I was carrying a child, a Metis cub.
With our doubts faced, we moved onto another mirror. It was large at 6 feet tall by 12 feet wide. As we all stood by the mirror, our reflections yelled insults and hurt feelings towards others. Lionheart berated Miguel for losing Mabe while Wrong Moon yelled at Stag’s Daughter for not knowing her role. Born Twice yelled at me for attempting to be a Philodox while Stag’s Daughter told John he was worthless for not having a mate or any Sept duties. John called Rage Heart a terrible packmate while Miguel told Wrong Moon he was a terrible packmate. Finally, Rage Heart yelled at Eli for not searching for him and I similarly yelled at Eli for not taking my son seriously and retrieving him.
Realizing these were perhaps buried feelings or even simply just possibilities, we passed out of the house of mirrors. There, lying on the ground, was a dead skeletal mouse. The mouse told us he remembered being devoured by the owl. Thanks to his time with Jonathon he has become a Twice Born. He can now see the future. He is bound by rules though and breaking them ruins his gifts.
We will be tested three times in the future. One will be a test of betrayal. Next, a test of Revival. Finally, a test of Enlightenment. He has given us the first clue at the cost of becoming bound to this realm. He then reformed into a box and told us to open this only when you are sure you need it. We could softly hear the voice of Jonathon: “you are now and have always been my friends.”
After this, Crafty came around the corner and tried ushering us to the next attraction. However, another Crafty appeared, and soon the entire area was filled with them. It soon became clear that this was the clue that the Twice Born had given us.
We began to debate the meaning of this. It was apparent that Crafty was the betrayer, but how? The clones provided the clue of Crafty being in league with the Weaver. We then checked the clone’s eyes and realized they had numbers like the clones that Lex Baritune was making. Suddenly, Rage Heart mentioned that what if Crafty wasn’t Crafty anymore?
Our eyes opened up as we heard Crafty and Gruffy conversing as they headed this way. Crafty approached us and wanted to know why we hadn’t dealt with the Ronin Garou pack yet. Eli told him we were just taking care of this dream quest for Wrong Moon quickly and then would be on our way. Crafty really pushed the issue of us taking care of the Pride Slayers.
I detected that he was a human and after letting Eli know it, he outed him. Crafty tried to deflect but Eli showed Gruffy the number in his eye like all of the other clones we had seen. We called for an emergency meeting.
Gathering everyone who wasn’t out on a mission we told Ryan to pull anyone back that Crafty had sent out. We checked everyone’s eyes to ensure no one else had been cloned but thankfully it was only Crafty. Wrong Moon persuaded the fake Crafty to tell us what he had been up to. Apparently, he had been created by Lex Baritune to keep the other Septs from uniting and taking him down. The Sept of the Silver Fury had been investigating him for some time. We knew this because we remembered meeting with them after rescuing Tina Carter. The fake Crafty had been in place for nearly two years now.
We wanted to warn the other Septs of the fake Crafty’s actions, but Mackie advised against it. He didn’t think the other Septs deserved to know. He thought it would make us look weak, but my worries were that the clone could have spread tons of false information about us leading up to a war between the Septs. Still, we decided not to say anything for the time being. Ryan wanted this to be resolved internally as well.
We decided to take of the situation immediately before anything else could go wrong. We would take down Lex’s operation to prevent anymore clones. I had a Questing Stone made for Crafty and Lex Baritune. We asked Daniel to come with us as he could jam the technology in the area and make it easier for us to slip without Lex seeing us. Stag’s Daughter put a print behind each of our ears in case we had been cloned in order to prevent us from being fooled.
Driving to the Ferry Halim as we did five years before, Daniel disabled the security as we made our way in. Searching for Crafty on the second floor, we found him in a pod being kept asleep with gas. Wrong Moon prepared to open the case as the rest of the pack headed to the third floor to confront Lex.
Making our way just outside his bedroom. I offered to take the lead and we kicked open the door. Lex shot up and looked at us but it was far too late for him. I plunged my klaive directly into his skull. With Lex dead, Eli grabbed the master computer to the building in the room for any other data we could determine. We began destroying everything we could see.
Wrong Moon then got the word to open the pod. Opening the pod with his gifts, he was immediately burned from the silver gas in the pod. Cutting the power, the gas stopped and Crafty woke up to surprise at seeing us. He told us the gas prevented him from waking up or healing. He knew what Lex had done, but was unable to do anything.
Crafty told us he was attacked from behind as we gathered back together. Although he didn’t see who it was, we assumed it had to be the Pride Slayers. Since they had no allegiance, they would be happy to do the task for Lex. This also brought light to why the fake Crafty wanted them dead. He was covering his tracks to ensure no one would know Lex was behind to the fractured relationship the Septs had.
We quickly made our way out of the building as we set it on fire, hopefully destroying all of the cloning processes. We gathered Daniel with us and made our way back to the Sept. Although there were still some unanswered questions like where was the other Crafty clone since ours was number two and were their clones of us, we were happy to have the real Crafty back.