We found ourselves stuck in the middle of a San Francisco neighborhood trying to figure out what to do next. Adela initially didn’t want to come with us, even in spite of mentioning Mabe was one who led us to her.
She told us of her time in an old house. She was taken care of by someone named “The Tutor.” The notion that the Tutor might have been Mabe occurred to me, but I realized it was probably very unlikely. The Tutor fed her, but she suspected there were drugs in the food.
Eli really pressed to let us take her to Mabe, who would probably know more on how to help her. Adela thought the burned items would have been the key to helping her remember, but that wasn’t going to do any good now. At that moment, I realized the old cigarettes were her grandmas. I assumed the journal might have been hers at well. Maybe Adela inherited it. Anyway, we needed to find a way to take her to Mabe.
I didn’t have much money, but I suggested a taxi since we needed to get home quickly because Ariel would be at the lodge at 8 am. We also considered stealing a car, something I didn’t feel very comfortable with. In the end, Eli managed to hotwire an old VW bus, which was perfect considering how many people we had with us. It didn’t have much gas, but it would get us to where we needed to go.
Cliff called as we were getting ready to get into the van. He had gotten information from Crafty that another wayward Garou was in San Francisco. I told Cliff I needed Crafty to call me about Adela and he told me he would get him to return my call. I apologized for keeping him up so early in the morning, but he told me to not worry about it.
I screwed up pretty bad in the car doing the Rite of Questing Stone without realizing Adela might be a breach of the Litany. I was so concerned about helping out another of our bloodline that I did it without thinking. Thankfully, Eli was able to cover for me and have Adela sit in the front so she couldn’t see what I was doing. Adela wondered about why the doppelganger of her wasn’t interested in the quill, but none of us could think of any reason.
Crafty then called and I tried to bluff the situation with Adela. I didn’t want to reveal that Mabe had anything to do with it since both Mabe wanted it a secret and Crafty told us to avoid her. Eventually, I realized I just wasn’t good at lying to him so I handed the phone to Eli and he told the truth about what Mabe wanted. We couldn’t remember what Mabe had said so Crafty told us he would call back and find out.
Adela asked to see my phone and Eli obliged. She marveled at it since it was obviously far more advanced than the tech from 1999. She asked what year it was and we told her. The phone then rang and startled Adela since she couldn’t figure out how to answer it. Eli answered and Crafty repreated what Mabe had said.
“Sad girl. Sad Mabe. Sad People. Free girl. Free People. City close. Golden bridge. Sparkling bay. Take girl. Show girl. Mabe People. Sad now. Show girl. Girl learns. Girl happy. Girl friend. Secrets keep. Silence keep. Friends keep.”
Crafty told us this was why he didn’t want us interacting with Mabe. She was a trickster and could get you doing things that weren’t important to us or maybe even dangerous. Eli told her that she asked us to do it. Still, it was lucky we were in the right city and we could pick up the wayward Garou. It didn’t seem like Crafty was mad at us, but a little more frustrated with Mabe.
The Questing Stone led us to a ghetto of San Francisco. There, in a drain pipe, we heard a small girl snoring. Eli told me to approach her since I would startle her least. I shook her leg and she recoiled back into the tunnel. Eli told her we were sent here to help her. She told us she had been on her own for a while. She told us she was waiting for one word to know if we were safe. I thought Lion might be it since he summoned us, but it turned out John had it right with Fianna.
The girl’s name was Agnis O’Grady and she had been on her own since her parents were killed off by a threat she guess was supernatural. I could tell she was still scared and didn’t trust us. We began to make our way back to the lodge when Adela announced she was hungry. I mentioned we could stop by a McDonalds on the way and I offered to buy Agnis something to help ease her tension a little.
As we drove towards the nearest McDonalds, a restaurant caught Adela’s eye and she told us she wanted to eat there. It was a classy looking place called the Stinking Rose. I wasn’t sure how much it would cost so we went up to look at the cost of the specials. Sadly, it was far too much for me to afford, even if I just wanted to eat there by myself.
We were going to leave when a massive, hulking man approached us asking if we were hungry. We were all apprehensive at first considering that kind of kindness coming from someone looking like him usually meant bad things. Still, Adela was more than happy to go in and we followed. We tried to lie a bit about where we were from since we didn’t want him knowing where the Sept was. Adela then mentioned going to meet Mabe in Santa Cruz.
Still nervous as we were, he told us to order whatever we wanted and he would take care of the tab. Once our food arrived, I could see that it was very high end and delicious. Still, I checked to make sure there was no Wyrm taint on it because it would be very easy to seduce people like this. Thankfully, it was just regular food.
As we started to eat, a man in a pink hat came to our table and began making small talk. He told us he was Royal Ascot, grandfather of the Summer Court, a title that clearly didn’t sound normal. Agnis and Adela appeared to be staring at his ears and the rest of us wondered why. He told us the large man was Washington Barkley, his soldier, which I didn’t like the sound of. He thanked us for bringing Adela back to awaken her from her sleep. We didn’t understand what he was talking about and then Jonathon mentioned Tolith de Fion.
Realizing we were Fianna, he became even more cordial and told us about the Fae and their relationship to the Fianna. He told Adela had been transformed, but lost her true self to her banality. The doppelganger was merely there to make sure she wasn’t missed. He told us he would keep Adela here, keep her safe, and train her the Fae way. Agnis wanted to know what he was and he replied he was a Fae.
With that, Royal gave us a garlic cube to eat as long as we didn’t make a scene after eating. A little confused, we went ahead and ate it. It allowed us to see the Fae as they truly are. Washington looked like an ogre while Adela looked like a dryad. Royal merely had pointed ears. It was actually pretty cool.
For returning the lost Fae, he offered us an origami bird that we could blow on and whisper to so we could get in contact with Royal whenever we needed. We would be brothers to the Fae as long as we did each other right. The bond between us would get stronger for helping each other out. He insisted we stay at a nearby hotel since it was late. I told Eli we would have to postpone the party with Ariel. He was a very touchy, feely kind of Fae and kissed us on the cheek as he got ready to leave with Adela. Before he left, I asked whether you could gain the ability to see them in true form all the time, but he told me it was purely determined by how close your blood was to the Fae. I was a little disappointed since it made me feel like a mutt since I had no pure breed in me as far as I knew.
As we left, Jonathon was concerned about Royal capturing her like the her journal said, but we all put those fears to rest since we trusted him. We took a bus taxi to the Worstell hotel and Eli asked to use my phone. We were going to postpone the party, but instead we decided to bring it to the hotel. Eli told Cliff to bring all of the non-wolf kinfolk to the hotel.
In the meantime, we realized Agnis hadn’t even done her Rite of Passage yet, so we took the opportunity to teach her. I started with the Litany as the most obvious thing to know and then the rest of us worked our way to telling her about the various tribes, Septs, enemies, etc. It wasn’t very much considering our limited experience in life, but for Agnis it must have been a handful. She seemed to take it well and Agnis and I slept in the same room that night.
I awoke the next morning not having any nightmares, which was a relief. They seemed to be getting much worse lately. The kinfolk didn’t arrive till about 7 pm so most of the day was just cleaning ourselves up from our travels. Cliff then arrived with Lindsey, Gina, and Ariel in tow. We told him we could order whatever we wanted since it was all going to be on the house. Cliff took that as a nudge to order some of the most expensive scotch he could.
From there, everyone paired off with the usual people hanging out together. Gina and Bjorn sat together while Eli and Lindsey were together as normal. I sat with Cliff watching TV, sometimes going to see what the others were doing. I only sipped on some of the scotch Cliff got since I wasn’t in the mood to get drunk.
As the night wore on, Ariel went to go get a small bottle of vodka from the mini fridge when she collapsed. Eli and Lindsey helped her up, but she said she was fine. Eli sent Lindsey to get something for Ariel during that time Ariel told Eli of a vision. What she said we don’t know since Eli didn’t say, but I could see concern in his eyes so it must have been something personal and important.
After that, the night went back to being fun. There was only one bathroom and when I had to pee, it was always occupied. I finally went down to the lobby to go to the bathroom. Once I left, I found myself being hit on by the creepiest guy I had ever met. He tried striking up a conversation with me as I walked to the elevator. I told him I was a minor, but that didn’t deter him. I made it into the elevator and he tried going in with me. I thought I was going to get attacked and it made me nervous as I reached behind my back for Faith. Before things could get bad, a young man pushed him out of the way and shut the elevator.
His name was Kenith Kincaid and he was a lawyer from his family practice. I admit he was kind of cute. We made some small talk on the way up the elevator and he stopped at the floor below us. He managed to get a couple more looks at me before the door shut and I was glad someone had stopped that guy.
I decided I was going to get drunk to calm my nerves from whole ordeal. I sat down next to Cliff and had him give me some of the Scotch. It wasn’t too bad. It was a bit smoky tasting, but for the money it cost it was worth it.
The party continued until Gina’s phone rang. Lisa was on the other end and she told us about how Kristin was freaked out by William’s comments two days ago. She had asked her ex-boyfriend’s dad to look into William and his dead girlfriend. Eli got the news and responded as I thought he would: by punching William in the mouth. Thankfully, no fights broke out, but I knew things were about to get bad for us.
We all went to bed pretty wasted on the booze. I unintentionally nuzzled up to Cliff because I was cold and woke up to the worst headache I have ever had. I have never had a hangover before, but I had heard about them. This was about as accurate as they described. Lindsey was puking in the next room with Eli holding her hair back. Cliff had to get back to work so he took Ariel and Gina with him. Lindsey decided to go with us before returning to vomiting.
We called for Washington and he brought us a limo, which he chauffeured. We stopped by an ATM machine to withdraw as much money as we could from William’s account. Eli told him none of it was his as punishment for what he did. We got $4,000 out of the machine, which we decided would go towards Cliff in spite of any objections he might have. I, along with the others, still believed we owed him for helping us with the whole Foss thing.
We had Washington drop us off at Lindsey’s and thanked him for the ride. We then made our way back to the lodge where Eli gave $2,500 of the money to Cliff. Then we took Agnis to the Sept in order to introduce her to the other members. It was already getting late and I told Eli we were going to have to go work for Brian tomorrow so we all went to sleep that night.
I had the worst nightmare I have ever had that night. I dreamt I was pregnant again and I was giving birth. As I delivered Ryan, the doctor cut the umbilical cord and told me I didn’t deserve my child before walking away. I tried to get up but I began to bleed profusely from all of my orifices before collapsing. My body began to fall apart and I tried to scream for my child but my jaw fell off as I did.
I awoke to Quetzal trying to wake me up. I was almost late. I struggled to get myself together and leave the caern. We all gathered together and made our way to the Kaiser Permanente Arena where the Derby Girls played. Everyone came except for Jonathon and we were split up for various tasks. Miguel, as a younger kid, would be cleaning and folding towels. The rest of us were cataloging business information into the computers there. After that, all of us were shown to the skate cleaning area where we worked on that for a while.
After about three hours, Brian called us back to his office and told us we still needed parental information. We were all a bit disjointed since some of us still had parents and others did not. It looked like we were going to lose our jobs we just got when a familiar looking woman stopped Brian and took him aside. She resolved the whole thing with Brian and then took us aside to talk to us. I recognized her as the lady Bjorn and I helped in the trees. She told us to head to the Waldorf School after work and she would iron out any issues we might have in exchange for not mentioning the whole tree issue.
We finished our work for the day and go paid $80 cash. It wasn’t much, but I decided to save it for something I might need later on. We made our way to the Waldorf School and Lisa greeted us. She told us if we worked for five hours a week at the school, she would waive any fees involved there and help us complete our education. We would just need parental permission for the transcripts from our old school.
The younger members of the pack were going to have to go into school, but Eli chose to simply drop out because his amnesia had robbed him of the necessary information to enroll. John chose to get his GED while I decided to finish out the remaining year and a half I had left.
After we took care of that, we realized we needed to discuss what pack business we should take care of. Since taking care of Cliff was out of the way, we decided that bringing John’s parents to the Sept would be the first order of business. I desperately wanted to bring my son to the Sept since the people hunting us could use him against me. I would rather have him near where I could protect him than risk losing him far away. Unfortunately, with no one to watch him when I was away, I would have to wait until John’s parents arrived. I also mentioned cleansing the Vulture pack since I promised them I would and finding Rage Heart. With our business concluded, we decided to go to sleep.
[The next morning…]
Caitlyn awoke disoriented. She was half-naked with her clothes sitting at the end of the bed. She could not remember anything and did not recognize the pack save for Agnis who she had just met yesterday. She knew her fang dagger Faith was hers, but everything else was foreign to her. Anxiety began to set in and it was obvious Caitlyn was frightened. She tried to leave, but Eli told her to stay while they figured things out.
With some nudging, Caitlyn could remember a few things vaguely like the word Garou, Quetzal, and Mabe. Other than that, everything was a blank. Jonathon tried doing the Rite of Cleansing on her, thinking it was Wyrm related, but it did not fix it. Eli had Quetzal look at her spirit, but nothing seemed out of sorts with it. Confused, the pack called out for Ryan and Crafty.
Neither Ryan and Crafty could figure out what was wrong with her and the ominous statement of “she would have to go” made Caitlyn even more anxious. When the pack mentioned the Sept of the Three Waters, Caitlyn spoke up, remembering something clearly for the first time. The pack took Caitlyn to the edge of their bawn on foot because she could not remember how to shift. Gruffy and Leein greeted them and after being told of the problem, they arranged a meeting at the Pin Gallery.
Arriving at the Pin Gallery, the pack found it crawling with massive Garou who were guarding a Garou named Stands-With-Claw. She was the leader of the Sept of the Three Waters and was clearly not happy with the pack. She was tired of covering for them and they were going to have to pay her back soon.
Eli tried reasoning and buttering her up, but she rebuffed him. She told of the Get of Fenris and Shadow Lords were massing in her tribe against her because of the pack’s failures and decisions. The other two caerns wanted us dead and she wasn’t going to let Crafty die for us. She told the pack to fix our problems and get the Sept in order.
She introduced us to Star Screamer, an Uktena Theurge who would be able to help. She then left, bumping into Caitlyn and calling her a bitch. Caitlyn was still too frightened to react. Star Screamer started looking over Caitlyn much like a doctor, at one point even sticking his finger in her ear. He finally told the pack what the issue was:
“What I have to say is not good. Chimares are pocket realities formed by dreams. Some believe that for each dream of every sentient creature on Earth, there’s a reflection of it in a Chimares; other spiritualists attest that only the most powerful dreams can become ephemeral in the Umbra. Either way, a traveler who manages to enter another person’s dream may give insights into that sentient’s mind. With enough spiritual might, a visionary may reshape the dream, alter its outcome, or influence the dreamer’s mind. A Chimare can be a chilling nightmare or an idealistic paradise. Neither is real, but they’re dangerous enough to maim or kill the unprepared —or drive them mad.
My guess is that this poor girl has had such a problem with her dreams that they have formed their own Chimare with such intense emotion that the Chimare stripped the memories of her dreams good and bad into the mini realm. To correct this, the girl will have to be taken to confront her dreams and deal with them. Without help this would possibly drive her mad, with help everyone going is taking a risk but it decreases the chances of losing her to her own dreams. If you choose not to help her there is a chance that every night she sleeps, more will be lost to the Chimare until it takes her mind completely.
You will not be able to find this place by crossing over to the other side. This place you will have to go into this child’s mind and dream with her. To do that you will need to meditate and bond stronger than you have ever done so in the past. This may help- meditate and burn this so you smell and think as one. That will help. Also, keep in mind that rules do not apply here except for the ones that were created during the dream- so anything goes.”
The pack was given some herbs to help them think as one before Star Screamer told them about various issues. He talked the other Septs who hated the Sleeping Lion Sept, the fact that Rage Heart has been at the Sept of the Raging Storm for two weeks now, and that the Sleeping Lion Sept would likely have to fight another Sept to repay Stands-With-Claw. With that, he politely left.
While the politics of the Garou Nation were looming, the race to save Caitlyn’s mind was on…