We had already left the area after speaking with Curtis when we decided to converse with each other and determine what to do. I told Eli that I wanted to speak with Kenith and that he needed to know the situation. Eli, however, in a move not normal for him, decided that we needed to see the Mages personally at Alcatraz.
We needed someone to watch the children in the meantime. Agnis suggested Mother Abby, a Bone Gnawer who took care of her after the First Change. However, we ultimately settled on just having Miguel watch the kids at a hotel. We weren’t planning on fighting the Mages, hopefully.
Bjorn offered caution about the meeting. It was true that we were meeting them on their own turf. We had no idea of what they could do to us. Still, there was no dissuading Eli from going there. He dialed up Curtis on my phone and arranged a meeting with whoever was in charge of the Cabal. He strongly emphasized that it would be a peaceful meeting and no one in the pack wanted violence. Curtis replied that the Mages already had a boat waiting for them at the pier near the abandoned prison.
Heading there, we took a small boat to the island. We headed to where the guards used to live when Alcatraz was in use. There, a man with a staff named Max Baker greeted us. He told us that he was the leader of the Golden City Cabal. I wondered if he was the man at the beach the day we were revived.
Max led us through the prison, telling us about it along the way, guiding us to the Officer’s Club. There, he sat down on a chair and offered us seats. Max got right down to business speaking of how we had killed two of his people. It was obvious he was attempting to make the argument that it was our fault entirely. Eli tried to reason with him that his Cabal’s actions, more specifically Robert’s, had endangered my child. However, Max rebuffed him telling him that they had not taken a Garou child and therefore felt they had done nothing wrong.
I could tell that Eli was getting agitated at the situation. His words to Max had taken of the feeling of veiled threats. Still, Eli tried his best to rein his temper in. Max told us that they had only plundered two “nodes” as he called it. Neither of these were in use by werewolves at the time. Jonathon spoke up and mentioned that Robert was taking direct action against the werewolves by creating this sort of spiritual bomb. Once again, Max blew us off stating that Robert’s loyalty was not in question and that he was second to Max himself. He wouldn’t help us kill any more of his kind.
Eli, getting ever more frustrated, told Max that all he wanted was three things. He wanted to ensure that either Robert or anyone else of his Cabal stop messing with their “nodes”, to remove the spell off of my son Ryan, and remove the spell off of Mordecai and his ilk in order so we could track them.
Max told us that he had never hurt caerns before, not wanting to start an all-out war that he could not likely win. He could not remove the spell of the Fathom’s as they would have to be present. He also could not undo the impressed Avatar on Ryan. Hopefully, in the future, the boy would become a Mage, likely right around the same time I became a Garou. I could feel my own anger rising from his statement.
Bjorn tried to reason with Max, telling him that Robert himself had been manipulated by someone into doing this. Once again, Max denied any wrongdoing on Robert’s part. Words became heated and both sides nearly declared war on each other. Eli let himself cool down for a second and tried to begin again. Max mentioned that it’s Robert’s job to go out and find “nodes”. I told Max that Robert had made my son into a spiritual time bomb.
At this point, Agnis spoke up. She told Max that the actions that Robert had been involved in had a ripple effect. While we had killed two Mages and sadly a score of humans, his actions have led to near-war in our area and the losses are counted in the dozens. Max seemed to reconsider. He told us that he would make sure Robert did not take any “nodes” that are occupied and would leave kinfolk alone.
We still asked if there was anything that could be done for my son. Unfortunately, he would need a master of spirits in order to accomplish anything. This, of course, was Robert. Still, Max mentioned that it would take a tremendous amount of power to do so. Jonathon volunteered his spiritual essence for the task. Max also mentioned that it would take a great deal of time. Eli wanted to know what he would want for such a task. At that moment, Jonathon whispered to Eli that we, as Garou, could probably take care of this on our own. Eli then dropped the topic entirely.
Max then made a farewell speech to us as he showed us to the door. It was obvious he was genuine in his efforts to prevent a war. As he was doing it though, he began to repeat the same things a couple of times. His jacket appeared to be torn and white powder ran down his neck. I asked him if everything was okay.
As Max started to speak with us about it, Jonathon stepped sideways. Max mentioned that it wasn’t a good idea and we agreed. Still, we knew Jonathon would be alright. I asked him about the day that we returned to life. He was there. He had taken us out of a temporal paradox that might have done severe damage to the world. He owed a debt to someone and did not do it personally though. I asked who he owed the debt to, but he just smiled leaving me to wonder if it was Kenith or the Mind Mage.
In the Umbra, Jonathon found the area to be like it was at Robert’s place. It was obvious that he had set up the defenses here. Jonathon enacted a gift that would sap the area of spiritual energy, but it ultimately had no effect on the situation. Jonathon tried to return to the material world and suddenly found himself in the ocean. He had been teleported away. Obviously a clever defense to keep out Garou.
Panicking, he tried to contact Tick to lead him back to shore. Tick was able to, but it looked like it would take a great deal of time. Jonathon called out to Quetzal and had him take him via moon bridge right into the hotel that Miguel was at.
I thanked Max for bringing us back even though he didn’t do it on his own accord. We left and suddenly found ourselves at the dock. After contacting Miguel, Eli discovered that it had been three hours since we started speaking with Max. It was obvious that something had been done to us. We wondered if the negotiations had gone less than stellar and Max had to undo something. He even hinted to something of that effect before we left, but none of us understood what he meant.
As we headed back to the hotel, Agnis suggested that we still make Robert pay for what he had done. Normally, I didn’t want to hurt others not of the Wyrm, but in this case, I was in complete agreement. Eli said the issue had been resolved so unless something else happened, we were to leave him alone.
After arriving at the hotel, we spoke quietly in another room about what to do next. Jonathon suggested an exorcism. I knew what it was, but had no ability to do so. Still, I was worried. We had been told before that exorcisms don’t go that well for the victim. It was a risk and up to me. I decided I wanted to speak with someone about whether or not it could even be performed.
Eli wanted to deal with his father. He wanted to use Morgan to get to Mordecai and get Lindsey back. He made the phone call to him, but it wasn’t good news. Morgan told him that the Mages had come and got Kenith. He had no contact with Mordecai and didn’t know where he was. He also told Eli that he was done with the Mages since they broke their word and similarly with the Spirals after Gretchen decided to kill our line. He can offer Eli no more protection since he won’t come with Morgan.
After the call ended, Bjorn wanted to know what they were going to do with the children. I suggested that Ryan could stay with my father. He was his paternal grandfather and should spend some time with his biological family. Thankfully, they agreed with me. We took him to my father’s place, explaining the situation to my father. I then explained things and tried to put my son at ease before we left for the Sept.
Returning to the Sept, Bjorn went to find Gruffy and attempt his challenge while Eli brought Crafty back up to speed on what was going on. Jonathon went to get Ryan in the meantime. Gruffy told Bjorn to head to the Pin Gallery. He can take the pack for support. He must preside over judgment on several non-Sleeping Lion Sept disputes.
Jonathon came to me shortly after Bjorn spoke with Gruffy. He had been told by Ryan that while an exorcism might be possible, he had no idea if what was attached to my son was even a spirit. He suggested speaking with Star Screamer. I knew that if I asked for his help I would owe them, but I was more than willing to do so.
Bjorn wasted no time and took us to the Pin Gallery. There, we as a pack except for Bjorn, stood on the sidelines and waited for things to begin. No-Hands-Catches-Fish, Gruffy, and Stands-with-Claws were there at the back of the gallery at a table. There was a spot open for Bjorn which he took.
No-Hands-Catches Fish told Bjorn that he would be the final arbiter in judgement for these cases. There will be consequences for his decisions. If the situation gets too hard for him, he would feel free to put his hand on Stands-with-Claws shoulder and she will take over. No-Hands told him it would be alright and just make the decision you believe is correct.
The first people to approach the table was a Garou named Kinsey “Happy Feet” Morrison and a familiar face, Lightning Claws. She had seen Lightning Claws severely abusing and nearly raping a kinfolk. She attempted to stop the situation, but Lightning uttered a warning growl. Undeterred, she antagonized him again until he attacked her. Her plea is for the kinfolk to be placed in protection.
Bjorn went to questioning from that point on. He asked if Lightning was a higher, to which he was. He was Adren, she was Fostern. Just on this simple premise, Bjorn said that she should have backed down. However, he did not issue a judgement yet. He asked Lightning about the kinfolk and why they were being punished. He told Bjorn that the kinfolk had been in trouble with drugs before. They had been dealing and using them. It was the second time Lightning had spoken with the kinfolk. When asked if the punishment was necessary, Lightning only retorted that it was what got through to them.
Bjorn asked a final question about how he got the kinfolk clean the last time. Lightning just said he spoke with them.
Bjorn then issued a judgement. He decided that Lightning Claws was in the wrong for mistreating the kinfolk and not respecting those beneath you. He needed to be spoken to about his treatment of kinfolk. However, Bjorn ultimately decided that Kinsey was in the wrong and she should have issued a proper challenge to him or brought it before the elders. Her heart was in the right place, but Bjorn had to deny her request.
Next up were two Garou that we had never met before. One was a Shadow Lord named LeeAnn “Sweet Tongue” Bolinger and the other was a Bone Gnawer named “Questions the Ways”. In an assignment, Sweet Tongue had been gathering intel about local leeches in order to find their head leech and dispatch him for her quest. Questions-the-Ways attacked her contact that she was speaking with. He could have waited until she finished speaking with the contact before driving them away. She failed her quest because of it. She wants Questions-the-Ways punished.
Questions-the-Ways then spoke his turn. Sweet Tongue had been in his territory. He really didn’t care much about the leech as they were always around. What he was concerned about was that Sweet Tongue was offering human sacrifices to this leech in order to obtain information. He then chose to scare them off.
Bjorn then started his questioning. Was she really giving sacrifices? Sweet Tongue did not deny this, only saying that no one would miss the people she was giving the leech. Did she know it was his territory? Sweet Tongue said yes. Was the territory recognized by the Sept? Questions-the-Ways said yes it was. When asked why she didn’t just speak with Questions-the-Ways, Sweet Tongue said she didn’t care, she just wanted to complete her quest. She didn’t plan on taking any of the sacrifices from his territory. It would homeless people that she wouldn’t miss.
Bjorn rendered his decision that Questions-the-Ways could not be punished for his actions. Indeed, he recommended Sweet Tongue be punished for her actions, but since he was not here to render such a judgement he could do it. Sweet Tongue, however, was understanding of the decision.
The final judgement for Bjorn came in the form of a Garou named Black Patch. He hauled in a Garou with a bag on his head. Removing the bag, it was Mordecai. He had apparently been caught in the area. During this announcement of the accused, we learned that Mordecai’s Garou name was Bloody Tongue for the first time.
Black Patch announced his crimes. Mordecai had killed others out of greed, raped, and committed other atrocities. He was cast out of the Sept of the Open Mind. Later, he attempted to return to the Sept, but ended up killing an elder who knew his secret. He then went on to tell what we already knew about the Pride Slayers. Bjorn must pass judgement on his fate.
I could see that Bjorn had a sense of uneasiness about judging his brother. Before he could begin the questioning, Mordecai blurted out a message, obviously intended for Eli as he looked to him during it. He said that it was going to be a massacre, something he reiterated twice in the message. Look for the massacre. The Pride Slayers have abandoned their leader for the admirations of a female. Black Patch then hit him and told him to be quiet.
Questioning did not go on long. Bjorn only asked if he was willing to change and reform his ways. Mordecai gave one of the least convincing answers ever heard. Bjorn had no choice but to sentence him to death. Black Patch offered to be the one to do it and we could see a tear in Mordecai’s eye as Black Patch went to decapitate him. Before he did, Mordecai whispered something to Black Patch.
Bringing a klaive down on his neck, Mordecai died quickly and painlessly. When asked what he whispered to Black Patch, he merely said that his brother was his legacy and his family would live on in the Silver Record.
With this done, Bjorn had succeeded in his quest. He was now rank 4, Artho, the first in the pack to do so.
However, with Mordecai’s message, there was no time to waste. We broke with the formalities and headed out. We knew that Massacre would have Lindsey’s location and I quickly made a Questing Stone for the vampire.
Finding her in a tent in a garbage dump in a nearby woods, she was still heavily burnt from the vineyard fire and likely other battles. Only Eli and Bjorn could fit in the tent, but we could still easily hear so we waited nearby.
Massacre was sorry that they took Lindsey. She tried to help, but she was obviously no match for a full pack of werewolves. Eli told her that the attack on the vineyard was not us, but our enemies. Massacre went on to say that a large group of vampires had suckered the Pride Slayers into joining up with them. Mordecai apparently protected Lindsey from the group, but they kicked him out. They decided to use Lindsey as a hostage to draw us in. Massacre wanted us to kill them and we would be square with her.
It was obvious we were going to take care of the situation, but we needed to prepare. Bjorn’s test had ran late and it was getting dark so attacking tonight would have been dangerous, if not suicide. We knew that vampires slept in the day so we used this time to rest and prepare.
The next day, Agnis had her Questing Stone guide us to an abandoned mansion. There, we used the Questing Stone to pinpoint Lindsey’s exact location. We prepared all of our gifts and made a surprise attack from the Umbra. The fight was over in seconds with the Pride Slayers. It was nearly two on one and they were still sleeping. I stabbed my klaive through Specs head and ripped it forward while Eli and John shredded two of them. Agnis and William dueled Switchback and took him down. During this time, Jonathon quickly grabbed Lindsey and fled the house.
After dispatching the Pride Slayers pack, we made short work of the sleeping vampires who could not rise during the day. Leaving the house, we began our journey back to the Sept. A great chapter had finally closed in our lives…