This story is for mature audiences only
The players may feel free to add their own color commentary to the narrative, just find your own way to identify your angle (Brackets,Diff.Color, etc)
The Storyteller’s snarky voice will be in italics
So it’s been over two years since we looked in on the misfit Uratha of Tioga. I initially told my players that some time would pass since the end of the last story. It would give them time to spend experience points and probably make claims, such as ‘I did this and that.’ Frankly, I want to play it all out. I’ve never really been a fan of just spending XP and getting new powers/gifts. I think it’s cooler, although more difficult to play it out.
The thunderclap of the gem’s reforging echoed through the canyon. Birds took wing out of fright, filling the air with their cries. Though unable to call themselves a true pack, the Uratha gathered had won a victory for the territory, successfully defending it from an obscene version of a Forsaken pack.
The relief they felt was short lived. The gunfight and the thunder may have alerted the authorities that had blockaded the enterace to the park. Immediately, the Oath of the Moon spoke to each of them, ‘The Herd Must Not Know.’ They had to hide the evidence of the battle and they didn’t have much time. Not only could the noise have alerted the humans, but the sun was setting and soon it would be dark. The werewolves began to sort through the battlefield. “We ought to be using revolvers,” Ken mentioned as he picked through the brush.
“Yeah,” Elisha agreed as he picked up a small brass piece of metal, “less casings to retrieve.” They did their best to sweep the area of all evidence. Val was reduced to a chance roll on this Wits+Investigation and had a dramatic failure. Was some critical evidence overlooked?
The sky was tinged a deep red by the time they returned to Lincoln’s Stovepipe. Elisha fished the corpse of Eddie Creed out of the creek. “What do we do with this?” To Elisha Cain, he was not one of the People and not to be protected by the Oath of the Moon. He had turned his back on their ways and earned his pitiful death. The group did their best to clean this area as well, hiding Eddie’s body for later retrieval.
Exiting, it was clear to Troy that most of his new allies had no idea of how to travel silently. An Irraka, he twitched at every broken twig, every stomped leaf. Suddenly, a light shined on their location. They froze, wondering if they had to fight again, but just as suddenly, the flashlight clicked off. Footsteps were followed by the closing of a Jeep door. Brakelights revealed a park ranger Jeep driving off on patrol. “What the hell?” Troy whispered mostly to himself, “No way did they not see us.” Actually, he didn’t. The Storyteller failed in his roll, not that the characters know that
By the time they reached Val’s truck, the Full Moon had risen, it’s mighty tide pulling at all the Uratha’s blood. Their ancient Mother’s light put them on edge despite just having lived through a pitched battle. Rahu, Val and Elisha felt the pull stronger than the others. “I want to dance,” Val spoke suddenly, “Where’s there a place to dance around here?” She itched inside, wanting to move, to use her body, to work out energy pumping through her veins. She was more than happy to oblige Troy’s offer to take care of Eddie’s remains by himself. Any more frustration at sneaking just might throw her into a Death Rage.
The arrive back at the Creed House. Jake agrees that dancing sounds like a good idea and goes to his room to change clothes. “Gotta get my good wife-beater on, if we’re heading out.”
Ken smiled at Jake’s humor and pulled open the door to the fruit cellar. He was planning on putting their gem locus back in its resting spot in the chest. He froze halfway on the steps when the light from the living room caught two beady eyes. “Rats,” he breathed sharply and began concentrating on shifting half of his vision to the Shadow Realm with his Gift of Two-World Eyes. He expected to see a thinning of the Gauntlet, gnawed upon by the Uratha’s ancestral foe, the rat Host Beshilu. He relief at a solid Gauntlet was short-lived, as he saw a number of rat spirits surrounding the chest locus. During the werewolves’ absence, the rat spirits must have taken the oppurtunity to raid the locus for its Essence. Ken called up to Jake, “I’m probably going to get myself killed.” Oddly, he felt the statement was true and he was a peace with that. Perhaps it was this peace that allowed him to focus his being, shifting it immediately into the Shadow Realm. Perhaps it was his contact with the “other” radiant feeling that came from being in contact with the gem that fell from the sky Perhaps it was just the luck of rolling an exceptional success.
Jake focused his own being. Surely there was nothing on the other side of the Gauntlet that he couldn’t handle. Of course there were dangers in the Shadow, but the locus of a pack was just about the safest place there could be. He side-stepped behind Ken, rather than inform the rest of the pack. As noted in the comments, I did ask this specifically
Val arrived in the living room looking for Jake, ready for what mid-Pennsylvania called a night on the town. She noticed the fading silouette of Jake on the stairs leading to the locus. “What’s he going there for?” She then noticed that Ken was nowhere to be seen, ‘Didn’t he head down there?’ Even in human form, her hairs tingled sensing danger. She called up to the rest of the pack, “Problem down here! Ken and Jake went into the Spirit World!” She began to transfer her being across the Gauntlet. The others followed suit transferring themselves within the influence of the otherwordly locus.
Ken warned each of them to step off of the stairs. He had spoken in the First Tongue to the vermin spirits. “Mine,” some had said. “Ours,” they had claimed. “Hungry,” they pleaded. “Feed,” they explained. Despite being outnumbered, Ken had stood his ground and spoke of his fellow’s claim upon the locus.
“It’s ours. We claimed this spot. You will leave.” He spoke calmly, not wanting to spook the rats into violence. Val, already on edge, shifted to the near human Dalu form, growling and grinding her sharpened teeth. She wished that Ken would shut his hole and let her at them. The fight would never come. Once Troy and Elisha jumped off the stairs, the rat spirits took the oppurtunity to skitter up the stairs.
Watching them leave, Troy and Elisha noticed something. Troy saw only a single wet black shoe, polished to a shine. From his angle, Elisha saw the hem of a lacy dress, once white, but now stained yellow from age and mouldy from rank exposure. “What’s that?” Later, we realized that Troy would have had a solid quess as to what he saw. Ken had told the others about the Fear Spirit that dwelled in their pond. Apologies from the ST, two years is a lot of time to forget details Troy asked as the shoe stepped from view.
Instinctively, Val shifted into her wolf form and bounded up the stairs. She crossed the wet foot trail in moments and locked her jaws on the spirit. Troy and Elisha jumped to follow, only managing to get in each other’s way, knocking each other down. Sure, it was cheap, but nothing wrong with a cheap laugh now and again It took the form of a little girl, soaked and blue from drowning. Her hair matted with mud and pond slime, her flesh pale and translucent. Val’s tongue flicked over the spirit’s corpus, almost wretching at the foul taste. “I’d like to go now,” water dribbled and bugs crawled forth as she spoke in the First Tongue. It was a polite voice, a child’s voice, sweet, but with a cruelty hidden just below the surface. Confused because of her lack of understanding the spirit language, Val arched an eye back to Ken. He’d done all the spirit-talking so far, she’d follow his lead.
“She says she’d like to leave,” Ken translated.
“Ask her why she’s here,” Troy demanded. His anger rising because of her brazen trespass. He placed himself between the girl and the door. Ken explained who she was, the spirit known as Drowns-in-Lace, a Fear spirit that once guarded the locus for the Serpent’s Creed in return for a steady taste of the locus’ power. “That was before, what’s she doing here now?” Again, Troy demanded a reason.
Ken asked. “I wanted to see how clever you Uratha are.” She politely responded. Ken wanted to end this quickly. According to the former tenants, Drowns-in-Lace did her job very well. Ken wasn’t sure what would happen if they fell into battle with her.
He was about to speak when Troy interrupted, “Maybe we should make the same deal. Tell her that we’ll offer Essence in return for her service.”
Ken admitted to himself that it was worth consideration. He shook his head, “That’s a decision that all of us should come to, not just you.” To Val he said, “Let her go, she didn’t do anything to us.” Val was tired from holding onto the spirit’s leg. She wasn’t sure that trespassing wasn’t enough for her to try and snap through its bones. She slowly released her grip. The spirit bowed, a clump of loose hair flopping to the floor in a wet slap as she did.
Val shifted back to her human form, “I don’t feel like dancing now.”
Jake offered to go drinking, and that sounded like a good idea to almost everyone. “I’m going to deal with Eddie’s body,” Troy stated. Ken had offered to assist, but after their skulk through the woods, the Irraka wasn’t impressed with them. “No, go with them. I’ll take care of this myself.”
Ken, Jake, Val and Elisha head to the Horsemen Bar. It’s a biker bar, thunderous music vibrating through the windows. Behind the bar are a number of bungalos for those too drunk to drive or interested in being off their feet. Despite not liking the music, Val enjoys the place. The group drink and discuss having a Fear spirit lingering near their locus. The group also notice the exchange of money and a biker taking a girl out the back door.
Meanwhile, Troy sneaks back to the park, sniffing his way back to Eddie’s body. He takes his time, digging out all the shrapnel in the dead Uratha. Transforming again, he crushes bullet scored bone under his powerful Urshal lupine jaws. He mauls the body, making it appear that a wild beast had been at the corpse. Finally, he drags the body off into the woods. Troy reasons that nothing stays hidden forever, eventually this body would be found no matter how good the hiding place. Better to be clever and allow the body to be discovered. It wouldn’t be the first time that some poor slob of a hiker became part of the food chain for the beasts of the wild. Troy felt sure that some would ravish the rotting flesh, hiding the evidence even further. Satisfied with his work, Troy slinks back to the Creed House. Yes, I wanted to write out what happened despite the conversation away from the playing table. No, the other characters don’t know what you did, at least not yet