Haggard, we retreat to a park inside the city. The park has been fortified by weaver spiders around its perimeter, but the interior seems fairly wild. We step sideways into the umbra for the night.
Jeremy wanders through the city in search of a spirit to teach him wall walking. He comes across many city spirits, but is intrigued by a man in a business suit and clock eyes who flashes him a glassy smile. He barters with the spirit to learn some of its gifts.
Rionach runs around with some of the raccoon spirits that are digging through the trash littered around. In time she befriends a spirit and in exchange for a Penn Station sub and some cheesy puffs she learns the gifts of the raccoon for getting into places where man does not want to be.
Below-All-Others attempts to summon forth a unicorn spirit inside of the park, but unfortunately a spirit does not arrive. After speaking with Khaalida he decides to search the city for a hospital or veterinarian to find spirits of healing. He crosses paths with a unicorn spirit outside of the room of a small girl. The spirit offers to teach him a gift if he will help this girl get child support from her deadbeat father, who works at Enron. Instead he bargains to help strengthen the smaller spirits of healing.
Plant the Device
During the early morning hours Rionach slips into the building disguised as a courier. She hides out in the ladies bathroom until most of the building is empty for the night. Using her Milky Eye gifts she shadows through the building, eventually reaching the top floor by following a patrolling guard. On the top floor she finds Jimmy Fallon, sitting behind a large desk talking on the phone with somebody in charge of him.
Jimmy assures whomever is on the other side of the phone that he knows the pack will attack him and has increased security in the building to handle any situation. Rionach, under the benefit of her gift, sneaks behind him and hides the box in a air vent in the corner of the office. As she is sneaking out a guard notices her and changes into something inhuman – a large wyrm-creature with two mouths, crab claws, and a tail. Rather than face such a monster she uses her half-man strength to break through the floor of the elevator and throws herself into shaft, pushing the button as she falls.
Rionach changes into her wolfman form as she falls – using her claws and strength to dig into the sides of the shaft to slow her descent. Her arms begin to weaken as the gas in the cannisters float down the elevator shaft. Her plan to shift into the Umbra is thwarted as faceless spirits in suits begin to shift from the Umbra into the real world all around her – in addition to the feeling of numbness in her limbs indicating some of the gas may have affected her. Fearing it might overcome her she forces open the nearest elevator door open and sprints into the hallway. Guards are struck will Delirium as she barrels through the lobby and into the street.
A Fallen Packmate
Khaalida brings the car around, allowing Rionach to jump into the vehicle as a large mob of faceless suits surge out of the building. Rather that lose them and let the spirits kill anyone nearby, we drive until we find a construction zone devoid of people; crashing through the fence as the suits surround and begin to destroy the car.
With nobody around the pack goes to battle against the wyrm-spirits. It is a hard fought battle and the pack is battered, but the wyrm-tainted spirits are finally defeated. Before we can even catch our breath a large crab-like creature bursts forth from the ground. Rionach pins down one of the claws, but the body lurches forward and snaps closed on Khaalida severing her body in half. Driven into a berserk frenzy by the death of a pack mate, Below-All-Others surges forward and tears his way through its body – killing the wyrm spirit.
Khaalida awakens and finds herself in a spiritual field that resembles what Crystal Heart caern looked before it was attack, along with Squirrel. Squirrel says that she has died and now it must be determined if she will travel on to the Summer Lands or forever be tormented as wyrm-tainted. In the blink of an eye the all-powerful spirit of Uktena is coiled before her. It says that it will judge her worthiness.
Uktena flashes forward and sinks its fangs into Khaalida’s body. As its venom burns its way through her body she convulses and screams in pain. In time the pain subsides and Uktena judges that she is worthy to enter the Summer Lands. However, she cannot continue on with her journey as something is keeping her from passing on.
The Bear Pact
Below-All-Others grabs Khaalida’s body and jumps into the spirit world to stop her spirit from journeying on, Rionach follows behind. Jeremy knows they are journeying along a moon bridge to the Black Hills where Below-All-Others hopes to find a Gurahl, a bear shapechanger. The Gurahl were given a powerful gift to return the dead to the living and Below-All-Others is willing to risk anything for her survival. Jeremy steals a car and drives towards the Black Hills hoping to find his pack.
In the Black Hills Rionach finds an ancient Gurahl, while in the spirit world Khaalida and Squirrel engage in a rousing song of 10,000 bottles of beer on the wall as she is still trapped between worlds. In the name of the pack both Rionach and Below-All-Others agree to give the Gurahl a tenth of our hunt if he would us his gift to bring Khaalida back to life. He reluctantly agrees if they fully understand that what returns may not be the Khaalida they once knew.
The ritual is successful and Khaalida returns; although she is haunted by the experience. As they are recovering Jeremy arrives in the Black Hills. During his drive he received two very important calls, both of them disturbing.
The first call was from Richard Berlington, head of Enron-Midwest and its senior Board-member. He is the rotund man with the cane that has been running this entire operation. He tells him thank you for dealing with an upstart underling, Jimmy, and that their actions played perfectly into his hands. He tells them that their fate was sealed when their pack was formed – they were formed specifically to accomplish the goals they have so wonderfully preformed to date. Their next action was already pre-determined and would only lead to his success.
The second call was equally as disturbing. Surfs-The-Data called to tell him that his caern was under attack and would most likely not be able to send as many warriors to help retake Crystal Heart. However, the most disturbing news was that Chris turned himself into the authorities in Topeka. He said that he needed protection as he knew the identities of those responsible for the biological attack on the Enron-Midwest headquarters. When Rionach pieced it all together we had the sickening feeling that we had been played – Chris was a Black-Spiral dancer and has been manipulating us all along. The federal authorities would be canvasing the area around the caern, leaving us little choice in what happens next.
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