It is the morning of March 17th, 2007 and everyone wearily drags themselves out of bed. Alicia saying goodbye to everyone, she is not sure if they saved her or used her as bait, but she is grateful that she is no longer in danger. The others spend their time running down leads or filing paperwork waiting until their meeting with the Dola at dusk.
Bryan visits with Detective Roberts while filing out a missing persons report on Heinrich; while there he runs into Amber Price. Agent Price works for SAIC Adam Phillips and has recently taken over the security detail for both Andersons. She informs him that Phillips has tried to contact him several times and is less that pleased that Bryan has made no effort to meet with him. Bryan sheepishly uses the excuse that his phone is giving him trouble, but Price is clearly not convinced.
Joseph and Lucas both check in with their respective watchdogs, Joseph with Ophelia and Lucas with the Warden Hotline. Jack leaves for several hours to chase down some leads in his own manner. He discovers that a new gang has begun to muscle into the shoreline north of the naval yard. They have gained a reputation for being tough-knuckled sort and using local transients as a courier network. Rather than a dubious meet with the Dola, he decides to follow his own instincts and settle in for a long surveillance over the territory of this gang.
Lucas, Joseph, and Bryan go to empty field by the mall as dusk approaches. Once again a fog begins to settle in and the lights of the bathhouse are seen in the distance. The curious attendant, who Lucas says is a Bannik, is on the poach cleaning shoes. He gives each of them towels and directs them to the steam room. After a few minutes in the steam, Lucas senses a powerful veil forming hiding this bathhouse from even supernatural senses. A short time later the Dola enters.
She congratulates them on their battle with the Werfel Hounds, who have known battle for many centuries. Few so unprepared could have stood against them for so long, which means that fate seems to favor them. Heinrich is a Werfel Hound; although she has been separated for so long the Dola believes that she has lost her path. The Dola assures them that fate will once again bring them together; although she will not say under what circumstances.
She tells them the Outsider that nearly attacked them is drawn to battle and inspires conflict. It has been here for a long time and its influence has spread through the corridors of power. Its activity has increased because spirits of blood and battle have arrived very recently. These spirits of war are drawing the spirit out as well as being drawn into its influence. She can speak no more and bids farewell to them.
Hermits of Wissahickon
It is nearly 10 pm when they finally leave the bathhouse. Bryan leaves to check-in with Jack, who still cannot figure out cell phones. Joseph and Lucas both turn to their own methods to delve into Philadelphia’s past. This area, originally named New Sweden, was first home to Swedish settlers led by Dutchman. The city itself was founded by William Penn in 1682, but darker days soon appeared.
The Hermits of Wissahickon were founded by Johannes Kelp and were the first of many Doomsday cults to find their way to Philly. The Quakers called them the Tabernacle of the Mystic Brotherhood and they gained a reputation not only for their strange ways, but for witchcraft as well. It is believed that Kelp the Mystic was able to fashion a Philosopher’s Stone and upon his death it passed to the Lady of the Lake, who rose from the bay. These Hermits first lived in caves along the bay, so Lucas and Joseph go to investigate.
In an area known as Southwark they see signs of blight and decay all happening within the last five years. Philly has been a hard hit industrial town, but there is something unnatural in the air. Jack notices that there are quite a few armed men along the shore and they seem to be taking an interest in them as they follow Lucas’ senses towards the source of the rot.
Just as they are being hemmed in Lucas finds the source of the rot. There is something flowing out of a nearby cave. Standing in front of the cave is a very large man they now know is a Werfel Hound named Andolf. They try to turn and run only to find themselves surrounded by crowd of “homeless men” armed with bits of detris. The final icing on the cake are three nixies that are swimming fast for the shoreline.
In the event a Warden is outnumbered it is best to create confusion and chaos. Lucas reaches for his magic and throws out a blazing ring of fire. The thugs scatter and even the nixies seem to stop and pause. Jack slugs the only two guys still blocking their escape and both of them run for the safety of the streets. Lucas continues to hurl blasts of fire at the nixies, while Jack deals with any man foolish enough to try and block them.
They can hear Andolf behind them yell that he wants prisoners. Not wanting to become his guests, they break into an open run and reach the boardwalk ahead of any pursuers. To discourage them from leaving the beach, Lucas brings forth wind and fire to ignite even the soaked wood of the boardwalk. With the boardwalk burning fiercely behind them they finally reach the safety of Jack’s car.
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard
He has seen several instances where some of them have performed feats of strength well beyond that of mortals. Jack tells them he has seen several of them make contact with non-uniformed men coming out of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard (PNSY). Even more strange is that there is a large number of non-prostitute women around the Naval Yard running their own surveillance system.
Bryan makes some calls to some marines in the bureau and eventually makes contact with Darnell Wilkins who is currently serving on the Shore Patrol (SP) at PNSY. He meets with Bryan and Joseph at a bar just outside of the base. He tells them that there have been a string of strange thefts over the past 3 years. Nothing really valuable, so it is probably some bizarre collectors. The items in question were bits and pieces from the U.S.S. Eldridge, which was the famous “cloaking ship” of urban legend. They have tightened security and installed the latest security cameras, but for some reason they have suffered a large number of electrical failures.
Darnell agrees to take them to the civilian wing of the Naval Museum, but no farther without permission of is CO Captain Issac. Inside the civilian history wing, a two-man SP approaches them and begin questioning their reason for being here this late at night. Joseph notices something very unnatural about one of the sailors, so he punches him. All hell breaks loose, first directed at Joseph then towards the downed sailor whose disguise drops revealing a ghoul.
Brian takes covers and begins trading shots with the ghoul, while the other guard also drops his disguise and grabs up a sword from a display rack. There is a loud commotion outside, but there is nothing they can do about it as both Bryan and Joseph are hard-pressed just keeping themselves from being killed. A third ghoul covered in blood sprints across the room and down the stairs to the basement.
Joseph switches tactics and with the help of Bryan double teams one of the ghouls and together they bring the monster down. The other ghoul hurls a display cabinet at Bryan, pinning him under it. Joseph is cornered and fighting for his life when the ghoul that went into the basement sprints outside holding a red and white flag. When the flag-carrying ghoul runs outside, the one pinning Joseph leaves the building as well. Joseph’s blood longs to run them down, but he must first attend to the wounded. Thanks to his efforts Darnell is still alive when the ambulance arrives.
Bryan is able to convince Captain Issac that the FBI has experience in dealing in these matters and given what he sees in the museum the captain is more than willing to hand off this mess to the FBI, after making a call to Bryan’s boss. Later that evening Jack, Bryan, Joseph, and Lucas are sitting in an IHOP looking over the list of stolen items. In addition to a Sankt Georg Fahne (Saint George Flag) stolen tonight there is also the following
- A swaddling bed sheet from original Swedish settlers
- Musket horn
- A few pages from Sir William Penn’s diary
- USS Eldridge prototype cloaking device
- WWI gas mask used in Battle of Marne
- Civil War Union Jacket worn by Pvt Lawrence Hastings when he died
- Box of WWI medals (Purple Cross, Silver Star of Valor)
- Readcoat jacket Gen. James Agnew died in
It is list full of death and violence.
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