We returned to the Sept after Star Screamer gave us the herbs needed to help me enter the Chimare and find my memories. We would do it at night when we slept so Eli took the opportunity to visit Lindsey and make sure she was all right. Jonathon and William went with him while the rest of us returned to the cabin.
Once we arrived at the cabin, we found Crafty, Ryan, Kyle, and Mackie talking to several individuals. I struggled to remember any of them at the time, but I could remember who Kyle and Mackie were. We chose to stay back, listen in, and not interrupt. They talked about how our Sept was weak and now since the caern had been strengthened, the Wyrm would now be alert to our Sept.
The conversation obviously showed they were Garou, but we had never seen them before. The banter went back and forth. One of the Garou named Arne told Crafty they carried the fight alone and with the Wyrm drawing closer, we were a weak link in all of the other Septs. Crafty defended us, telling Arne we had already grown much in the few months we had been there. He said we were doing things the old way and to give us more time.
The words rang hollow with the Garou and they mentioned if the roles were reversed, we would kill them. Kyle defended us saying that isn’t true and he looked ready to fight. One of the Garou named Bruce drew in close to Kyle and began to stare him down. It was obvious the full moon was tonight and tensions were running hot.
Another of the Garou named Hansen said they should just kill us all and be done with it. He motioned towards Kyle while speaking to Ryan about how Kyle is going into Harano. The term was unfamiliar to me, although at the time everything was unfamiliar to me. Our Sept was drawing evil and it would only be a matter of time before something happened.
Mackie spoke up at that moment, blaming the strife on the Silver Fangs and it looked like things were getting out of hand. Crafty managed to get them to leave and Arne agreed as nothing was getting resolved at the moment and they would return to finish us. Kyle once again took this opportunity to defend us and the Sept saying he kill any who tried. Bruce took this as another chance to insult Kyle again. Crafty managed to calm the situation down again and the Garou left without incident.
Kyle began to walk away and Ryan asked if he was ok. He made a sexual comment and then headed into the woods with a smile. With that, we approached the Sept elders and asked what the conversation was. Crafty then told us things were looking bad all around. The Silver Fangs wanted our Sept land for a staging ground for battles. The Sept of the Three Waters support was weakening and they may withdraw if we don’t do something to prove ourselves. In addition, the Sept of the Angry Earth didn’t like us and the only thing stopping them from attacking us was the threat of the Sept of the Silver Fury using it as an opportunity to take them over.
None of our other options looked good either. We could ask the Glass Walker Sept up north, but none of the other Septs trusted them and it would just make us look worse. Mackie said we would have to become aggressive with the Sept of the Three Waters to show them our worth. We would also have to build allies within the Sept to keep the support strong. Ryan then asked if I got my head fixed. I wasn’t, but Bjorn assured him by tomorrow I would be.
Before we left, Bjorn asked in what way we would be aggressive with the Sept of the Three Waters. Mackie said he didn’t know yet, but it would have to be something to prove our worth. Bjorn also asked about Harano. Mackie said it is the only real sickness a Garou gets. It is different for every Garou and they either come out of it or fall. Some warning signs were depression and isolation, which Kyle certainly fit. Still, it was too early to make such a presumption. Crafty asked where Eli was and Bjorn told him he was taking care of some business with Lindsey.
For the rest of the night, John fished for his spirit quest with Cat while Bjorn placed his object for Finneus. With the whole William disaster, the rest of the pack besides myself, worked on finding a way to cover the tracks of William. They realized they would have to create a fake id for him and Bjorn asked if anyone could do it. Surprisingly, Miguel was able to do this. It was the first time he had really spoken up about anything. It took some work , but he was able to make an excellent fake id that changed William’s name to Robert William Thomas. We needed to keep his middle name William since other people had been introduced to him as such. After that, Yoder returned and it was time to find my memories.
We gathered together in the cabin and began to burn the herbs Star Screamer gave us. We laid down and went to sleep. Once we did, things became hazy and a smoke appeared in my dream. I realized I had to be in the Chimare we had been told about as the others were there as well. In the distance, we could hear singing.
The singing sounded like a church choir and we began to walk in the darkness to it. As we did, we heard clapping. We continued until the smoke began to clear and we were in a church. The choir stopped singing as I saw myself step forward and began singing a solo piece. My voice was angelic and it was surreal to be watching myself sing. We looked around the room and seen two exits behind the stage. We moved towards the one on the left and no one seemed to pay us any attention.
Entering the door, the smoke returned and we could hear a male voice talking. The smoke cleared and we saw a man pushing a young girl on her bike while he talked to a woman. They argued about how he was never around and he was spending the entire day with the little girl before the woman went inside the house. I couldn’t remember who they were, but Bjorn mentioned they were my parents likely. The neighborhood was pretty nice and once they got out of sight, we went into the house. The woman was now on the phone and mentioned someone was here before the world faded to darkness again.
We could hear the voice of a boy before it turned into many. The smoke cleared and we found ourselves in a school. Just down the hall, we could see myself at my locker with a boy leaning on the next locker. I could almost remember the boy, but it wasn’t clear. The rest of the pack assumed it was the boy who fathered my child, but even that didn’t make any sense at the time to me. He introduced himself as Keith. The boy made small talk about me singing in the church choir and tried some pick-up lines on the vision of me. I blushed at the notion in both the memory and in person. After that, the world faded again.
The smoke cleared again and we found ourselves in front of a door. We opened the door to see a Sunday school with preschool children. I sat at the end of the table, reading the story of Noah and the Ark to the children. After that, I was helping the children color pictures. One of the children cried at his picture of a dog because his dog had recently died. I told him we could get a picture of an elephant so he wouldn’t be sad and we could color him yellow. The child said pink instead since he knew it was my favorite color. Eli mentioned that he didn’t realize I had always been a nurturing person, which made me feel better about myself. The memory faded to black.
The smoke began to swirl around now and the world reformed much faster this time. We found ourselves in a room that I could remember as my own. There were spelling bee trophies all around and the room was very girly with pink bedding and upholstery. A memory of Keith and me walked into the room and began stripping their clothes off. I felt a little embarrassed at the pack seeing this, but I didn’t want to say anything. I remembered some of this night. Keith told me he loved me that night and I was nervous about having sex for the first time. He told me we could wait, but I told him it was okay since we would be together forever. Thankfully, things returned to darkness before we could watch anymore. I knew the guys would want to watch, but I’d always been a private person about that kind of thing.
The smoke was swirling violently this time. As it faded, we found ourselves in the toy section of Wal-Mart. A little girl could be seen crying. She wore a pink and white dress and couldn’t have been more than seven years old. She looked up at us and it was the first time one of the memories could see us. I asked her what was wrong and she said she couldn’t find her parents. We offered to take her to the service center where they could page her parents. I took her by the hand and began to lead her as the memory went black.
The smoke was now pouring in and when everything returned, I could see myself angry and crying. I yelled at my parents for not telling me I was adopted. They told me I was special because they chose me. I sat between them and cried as they held me. The memory then faded to black.
A shot of smoke jetted across from us as the world reformed. We were in the kitchen of my house. My parents were fighting about bills and my father being away all the time. The fighting continued, getting harsher as we turned to leave. There, at the steps, we could see a young version of myself listening to conversation with a sad look in my face. Things went black again.
The smoke was beginning to get darker now. When the world reformed, we found ourselves on the outside of my house by the porch. I seen myself on the porch with red eyes, crying from my conversation with Keith. He denied the child was his and that he had heard the rumors. I assumed the rumors may have been about myself being easy. I went into the house and slammed the door causing the world to go black.
The smoke came in like a tidal wave now. As it faded away, we found ourselves back in my room. I was crying about Keith’s denial of my child. My mother handed me a gold cross and bible that belonged to her grandmother once. I hugged her and told her I loved her and everything went black again.
This time, there was no smoke and things faded in. A memory of myself was standing in front of a baby, my baby. He sat in the rocking chair with his Tigger stuffed animal making cooing sounds. I smiled at him and kissed him on the forehead. I told him mommy would be back soon and began to leave. A couple there told me they would take good care of him. I went to leave and wanted to look back, but I was too hurt and saddened by it. It was the moment I left my son to left for the Sept of the Sleeping Lion. Everything faded to black again.
This time, the smoke was black and white. It seemed to be going off in a direction so we followed it. As we did, a familiar smell entered our noses of the herb Star Screamer had given us. We heard singing again, but this time we could not make out the words. The world came into view and it was the church again. However, this time I looked frightened as a sang. None of the words made any sense and my voice began to crack.
As this happened, the parishioners began to transform into something kind of like a movie werewolf. The vision of myself began screaming and ran out the left exit as the wolfman creatures started to chase her. We gave chase after her as five of the creatures closed on the door she exited. There were about 30 in total and they didn’t seem to be paying any attention to us, but we could interact with them, shoving them out the way to get to the door.
The vision of me screamed as she ran down the hall. The wolfman creatures were running and leaping off the walls to get to her. A T-junction was ahead and she took a left as we followed. We all shifted to Crinos form to run faster. Eli leapt over all of them and tried to stop the five closest to her. They managed to slip past him. John took this moment to stop the large group in the back by using brute force. Bjorn managed to close in and take out three of the five near the vision of me. I took down one myself with skill I didn’t even realize I had.
Yoder managed to take out the last one as the vision of me hit the wall. Elevator doors opened and we realized we were in the Worstell Hotel, the wolfman creatures gone. The vision of myself entered the elevator, aging to my age, and a creepy looking guy entering the elevator with her. The doors slammed shut before we could get to her and the walls became translucent where we could see what was going on inside.
The creepy looking guy said “what’s the matter wolfie?” as he closed in on her. The elevator started going up as my vision self told the guy to not touch her. We climbed the stairs as Eli entered the elevator shaft coming after them. I told the pack that this isn’t what happened at the hotel, remembering it clearly. The creepy looking guy grabbed her hair as Eli leapt up to the bottom of the shaft. Eli tried to claw his way through the floor of the elevator, but failed making him lose control.
The creepy looking guy was trying to fondle my vision self as the elevator door opened. John and I grabbed him and my vision self out of the elevator as Eli began coming up through the floor. The creepy looking guy freaked out at the sight of us and we threw him back into the elevator to avoid the Rage of Eli. Eli shredded him as the world faded to black.
Things were still black and Eli charged us. I remembered the Thrall of the Wyrm and Eli was currently in it. We all grabbed a hold of Eli until he finally calmed down. The smoke returned, extremely thick, and began to form a vortex. As the world returned, we found ourselves back in my bedroom. My vision self was being pinned to the bed by Keith as he ripped her clothes off trying to rape her. I quickly grabbed him and threw him into the closet.
My vision self look pale white, almost like she might throw up. From the closet came Samuel Haight, boasting that we couldn’t kill him. I charged him and gutted him, and although it ripped his guts out, he just stood there laughing at us. As we looked on at him, my vision self screamed and began the slow, painful First Change. Her claws began to sprout and bones began to crunch as my parents came into the room. We tried to grab them, but our hands went right through them. We were no longer in a nightmare, but back to a memory. The bed collapsed under her weight as my mother began to pray. My father tried to hold me back, but it was futile. My vision self killed them and the world went black again.
This time, there was no mist. We could barely see in front of us. We knew there was a door there, but we struggled to find the knob. As we opened it, a faceless man appeared in front of us. We asked who he was, but he remained cryptic about it. He told us he was fascinated with me and didn’t want to harm me. He was a Mage who had stumbled into the dream world I created due to my nightmares. He offered to return my memories for keeping the Chimare around.
We asked him about his face and he told us he did it to keep his identity a secret. He told us he could repair my mind and take away my nightmares if I would allow him to use them to power the Chimare longer so that he might study it. He mentioned that we had something he required: the power source. We realized he was talking about the caern.
I realized I would be no good to the pack in my current condition. I couldn’t help them or protect them as an amnesiac, or worse, catatonic. I agreed to it and he transformed into tentacles telling me he was sorry for the hand that fate dealt me, but maybe these things happen so better things can happen in the future. He then told me I should wake up and I did along with the rest of the pack. I could remember everything. I wondered about what the Mage said to me before he fixed me. There was something almost prophetic about it, like he knew more than he was telling.
It was still early that night as only a few hours had passed. Everyone wondered if I was alright and I told them I was, thanking them for helping me. Eli took this time to tell us about the vision Ariel had several nights ago about Lindsey. Since it was still night, we went back to bed. I slept peacefully that night for the first time since shortly before my First Change.
We awoke the next morning and went to Crafty to talk about yesterday. He told us the names of the Garou who had visited yesterday and they had only not attacked because they were constantly busy with the Wyrm and other Septs. Now that I had my bearings, I asked Crafty what he meant by “the old ways,” to which Mackie spoke up about keeping the Sept free of the weak and only Fianna.
Crafty said we’re in a Catch-22 situation because we can’t risk weakening the Sept because the other Septs will think we are weak. At the same time, we can’t strengthen it because the minions of the Wyrm will encroach on us and we might not be able to repel them, looking just as weak as if we let the Sept weaken.
Crafty then told about us about a story Hansen believed. Most knew what Lion represented with the fall of the White Howlers. Hansen believed that his return would bring the rest of the Fianna to join the Black Spiral Dancers. I thought this was ridiculous as Lion was not Wyrm-tainted, merely disgraced. Still, the Sept of the Three Waters was divided and the newscast only seemed to give the story more credibility as they believed the Black Spirals were behind that.
Because of this story and its growing belief, it undermined our accomplishments. Killing Samuel Haight should have gained us much more renown than it did. Even worse, our failings are magnified by this. Mackie took this glum news as an opportunity to drink and went back to the cabin to get some with John going with him. As they left, Crafty mentioned that smoothing over the relationship with the Sept of the Three Waters would help things out.
Still, nothing seemed like it would help. Repaying them might make us look weak depending on how it was done. We flirted with the idea of giving Jonathon to them to help, but that didn’t go any farther than discussion. It seemed like sticking to our business might be the only option that didn’t engender any hatred amongst the other Septs since hiding would do no good. We would have to just keep up public appearances while fortifying our Sept without building our numbers.
We told him about the Mage in my Chimare and I was worried I had endangered not only our Sept, but also the Sept of the Second City in Chicago. He told us Mages had taken out caerns before and it’s why most of the Septs in the area stayed small save the Sept of the Three Waters. He was also worried about why the Sept of the Raging Storm had taken Rage Heart in. The Wendigo hated all European Garou after they took over Septs in the area a couple of centuries ago. The fighting between the Wendigo and European Garou only became a truce in the early 20th century and now our Sept might have broken that truce inadvertently.
We considered asking the Fae for help, but Crafty reminded us they were tricksters and would get more in return than we asked for. However, he said if they owed us, we could hold them to it.
Mackie returned and told us the food was low so we realized we were going to have to go into town. Because we might have to stay at the Sept for a long period, we decided we were going to have to buy food in bulk. We went to talk with Cliff about taking us into Santa Cruz, but not before having one drink with Mackie.
Cliff agreed to take us into town since he needed to shop for the lodge anyway. We took two vans with John driving one and Cliff driving the other. Eli still had $1,500 left from what he withdrew from the ATM so he took $500 for food, $500 for Lindsey, and $500 for a car fund so we wouldn’t have to ask everyone to take us around anymore. Eli asked for any pack members to chip in if they could. We asked Cliff before we left if he had a membership to Costco, which thankfully he did.
Arriving at Costco, we set off to get food and alcohol for Mackie plus moots. Eli told Miguel to snag a wallet or two so we might find some more ids to fake for the rest of the pack who needed a license or id. Miguel managed to get two good wallets, one containing $725, and the other with coupons. We put the money towards the car fund and used the coupons to make the food cheaper and buy more alcohol. I felt bad having to steal from people to do this, but I didn’t want to say anything to the rest of the pack.
After we paid for our stuff and left, Eli had us stop by Lindsey’s place to give her some money. She was curious about it and Eli said it was for all she did for us. She tried to give a hundred dollars back to have him take her out to eat, but he refused to take it, telling her he had a job so he could pay on his own. He mentioned we were going to buy a car. Lindsey said we could borrow her car whenever we wanted, but we didn’t want to if she needed it. Eli took an auto trader magazine and some cardboard boxes before we left her work.
At the Sept, Miguel tried forging the ids he snagged, but didn’t do so hot with it. John used this time to call Regina and inadvertently made a date for himself in San Francisco on Friday. Eli and I went out on bawn patrol with Rusty and Rivet that night. He mentioned he felt he knew me better and didn’t realize I was always so nurturing. I told him thank you, but I wished it could have been on better terms than to have to rescue me. We decided to use this opportunity to hunt. I had been getting better at hunting and with Eli’s help; we got a nice deer to bring back to the Sept.
When we found out about John’s date, Eli decided to make a date with Lindsey in San Francisco since he didn’t want to separate the group. Bjorn also figured he could go on a date with Gina too. It would have left Miguel and myself to our own devices, but I mentioned Kenith who I met in the elevator at the Worstell Hotel I could spend time with. I felt a little bad for Miguel, but I thought maybe he could spend a little time with the Fae since they would keep him safe.
I sat in the cabin that night, staring at my family bible. I still felt guilty for what happened to my foster parents, but I had hoped that now the nightmares were gone, I would eventually be able to put the past behind me. Seeing the memories so clear though hurt and I now wanted my son near me again more than ever. I needed to get in touch with the Sept of the Second City and warn them about the Mages. I laid down that night, cradling the bible in my hands, and said a little prayer for my foster parents. Maybe better things are in store for me.