Fire and Brine

Story One - A Place Called Home - Chapter Five

Chapter Five

Welcome back, this session is the product of a minor derail. Specifically Lorcan, who is now full (apart from a couple of boxes) of aggravated damage. He is full of quite big holes

So! Ethan has to find some way to save him and John is puzzling over the growth he’s found in the basement of St Mary’s Catholic School.

Lorcan is sitting in the Chase, drifting in and out of consciousness. At the call of Jack Sinead has arrived, eyes widening at the sight of Lorcan.

“Jesus”, she gasps seeing Lorcan’s state.

“Did you bring the stuff?” Jack asks.

“Yeah,” and Sinead brings out a small collection of first aid kits, bandages and anti-septic items mostly, and painkillers. As she checks Lorcan’s wounds she see something she can’t believe, yes Lorcan is full of holes but isn’t bleeding, and the skin around each wound is reddish and pink – almost as if Lorcan’s already healing.

“I’m gonna need a drinking,” shaken, she sighs and goes out to get something strong, and cheap.

Meanwhile, in the school of St Mary John is reading through the notes he has found in the room with the fungus, out in the school classrooms on account of the basement being flooded with the damned thing’s spores. Speaking of which, the black stuff covering John itches like hell – he’s finding it hard to concentrate with it just lightly touching the skin and still burning it.

As he reads he finds the notes are from a guy called ‘Toby’, is (as it seems) a modern day dodgy alchemist, convinced that this stuff could make some kind of drug that could breach the Barrier Between. Reading between the lines, filling the gaps with his Uratha knowledge and remembering what he saw in the basement – John surmises that the growth downstairs is some sort of Host, interacting with the Gauntlet somehow.

But this is the least of his problem now, as there are fresh voices coming from downstairs in the entrance hall. He moves to the stairs above.

Ethan starts to walk, in the Hisil, to the Gardens behind the Castle. He is beset by the storm brewing, and visibility in the dark of the night is an all time low. As he trudges towards the centre of the city he comes across the outline of a wolf sitting calmly in the middle of the street bombarded by elemental spirits as they thunder through the city’s Shadow. This is a big spirit found in the Court of Death Wolf, Spectral Wolf.

It tilts it’s head at Ethan, “where do we travel tonight, little Bone Shadow, is such a hurry?”

Sinead returns to the Chase, with cheap whiskey is tow and brings out three glasses. Lorcan, Jack and Sinead proceed to get drunk quite quickly. As Lorcan passes out, slipping into oblivion he begins to Dream.

At St Mary’s three figures enter, two quickly remove their hoods, soaked with rain, and the other jerkily follows them, keeping it’s hooded cloak up. One of the hoodless, an elder man, turns to the other, a youngish woman, “we collect the shipment, for the Shining One”.

“For the Shining One”, the woman murmers.

The man turns back to the hooded figure, “watch our backs.”

John waits for the the two to descend into the basement and jumps, in Urshul, onto the hooded figure from 20 meters up.

Ethan walks to the Castle, Spectral Wolf in tow, explaining what he intends to do. Spectral Wolf stares at him, as they reach the ephemeral battlements of the long since faded castle that whilst gone in the flesh, is still remembered in the Shadow. “You know, no Uratha has done this successfully…”

Lorcan dreams. He dreams of a chapel, walking into it. The chapel is thronged with masses of people dressed in robes, chanting a name again and again.

Daghag’lu

He continues to walk down the aisle, to it’s inexorable finish, whilst the crowd chant that name at him. Lorcan reaches the end, at the altar a man in ornate robes turns, wielding a staff, leading the chant. The man stabs Lorcan, slowly through the chest with the staff and Lorcan falls to the ground, as he falls he watches a woman off to the side of the chapel, smiling a wolf’s smile and watching Lorcan fall. The woman is on fire.

Lorcan wakes with the start, with Jack and Sinead still sleeping in the room. What the hell?

John, meanwhile, lands on the creature in the robes, tearing into it with his jaws and knocking the thing down. The creature, for it is no man, hisses and rakes John with strange syringe claws – screaming as it’s mouth distends and tries to fight off the large wolf monster on it. But it’s struggles are in vain and John quickly kills it. As it bleeds out John, starving for Essence, greedily consumes the corpus of the Claimed regaining some fuel.

As he wolfs down the flesh the two others come from the basement, and see a gigantic wolf consuming their guard. The two panic, in the throes of lunacy, and run for the door to get to their car outside.

John is slowed down from finishing his ‘meal’, and begins to give chase, but the two are already in the car, he gives chase out into the street, changing into Urhan. But what with the weather, and the head start he loses the car in the streets. Sighing, and worried about the strange spores he has on his skin, John elects to sleep in the groundskeeper’s hut on the ground of St Mary.

Ethan reaches the park, which long ago contained (according to legend) the tidal pool of the Liffey tributary, the River Poddle. The park is circular and at the back a massive wall and gatehouse looms out of the dark and rain. in the centre of the park, is a circle of grass, and on it rest four enormous snakes made of cobblestone with jewels for eyes. They slow stir from the grass, writhing. As Ethan goes to step onto the grass the four rear, hissing suddenly and about to lash out at Ethan, and Ethan jumps back. The snakes are also part of the ground.

Ethan sits down and ponders, what do snakes represent? After a while a thought crosses his mind, snakes can represent healing – but walking the sinuous path that the four snakes make in the gloomy park may lead to where he wants to go.

Slowly, and gingerly Ethan goes to step onto the head of the nearest snake.

As he touches the head, the snake stops moving, allowing Ethan to walk onto the snake as it sinks into the ground, becoming a path in the grass. He breathes out slowly and centres himself, and walks the path – not looking but maintaining his calm centred feeling. After an indeterminable amount of time passes Ethan looks up and finds himself at a crossroads, with the other three snakes laid over each other – Ethan looks at the patterns and divines the right path, and steps onto the next snake’s body and continues down the path. As he continues he notices that the park as receded into the background, and there seems to be a ceiling, just out of sight. Soon he comes to the end of the snake he’s walking on, and is faced with the three other snakes’ heads. Carefully judging each of the snakes manner he steps on the one that looks ‘right’ and finds himself in a cave’s tunnel and walks into the Court of the Liffey.

The Court is an underground pool, thronged with strange spirits and overlooked by an empty throne carved into the glistening rock. There is a faint ‘plink’ ‘plink’ as water drops from the ceiling.

As he enters, a figure is drawn from the pool, and the Spirit of the Liffey returns to it’s Court.

“What brings you to my Court, little wolf?” The elder spirit asks Ethan, who explains he seeks the power to heal his pack-mate.

“And why would I do such a thing? I have no need for this, I would want something in return wolfling…” Ethan, recognising the ancient tradition of gathra, replies he would be indebted for a great boon for the spirit.

There is a pause in the Court, and the Ensah in the middle smiles, “I accept your gathra.”

Ethan thinks of the quickest way to do this, he needs to get the healing quickly for Lorcan’s sake. He reasons that trying to get a read of the Spirit in front of him might help, and talks to the Liffey, trying to get a measure of it – but fails. Any spirit he has interacted with before has been totally outclassed by this Ensah. Trying a different tactic he tries to Read the Spirit, and learns a goal of the spirit, to extend her purview and territory – using this knowledge he implies that a strong pack could remove some rivals for the Liffey, and he gets a feeling this brings the Ensah onto his side.

With this theme in mind, Ethan starts to express the skill of his pack, and Lorcan, and the possibility that the Bleeding Hunters could remove some of the Drowned that infest the waters around Dublin.

He continues extolling the virtues of Lorcan and describes Lorcan’s ability to tell a good yarn – and this could be helpful for the Liffey as Lorcan could sing her praises. This seems to hit the spot as Ethan, now swaying from exhaustion and his wounds, finishes his point to the Court.

“Very well, wolfman. Bring you pack to my waters in the next day and you shall find your wounds removed. Bear in mind our deal…”

And with that, Ethan removes himself from the Court, walking into the caves tunnel, and walking out into the storm laden park. Spectral Wolf meets him, “impressive Bone Shadow. We shall meet again.” With that comment Spectral Wolf disappears into the storm, his spectral outline easily blending in with the storm. Ethan sighs, and heads back.

As he arrives at the Chase, in the Friday morning. He grabs Lorcan, brushing aside Sinead’s questions. Lorcan apologises, explaining it’s better that she didn’t ask too many details. Defeated, Sinead backs down, “fine – but I’ll wait here for when it goes wrong”.

The pack, with John meeting them outside head to the Liffey in the mid-morning. The streets are deserted, as the full force of the storm hits Dublin. So they are unaccosted as they climb down the steps into the fast and swollen river Liffey. As Ethan and Lorcan drop into the river, and their open wounds are healed.

Climbing up the steps on the side of the river’s walls, they pack reconvene at the river’s side – wondering in awe at unblemished skin where Lorcan’s wounds were a moment ago.
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And there we have it. We had an awesome scene in the Court that took up most of the game. Though Ethan was the only PC there, all the others were pitching in and it was genuine fun for the party to come up with different ways from them to break down the doors of the Liffey. Note – social manoeuvring rules are really useful.

One important thing to note, Ethan is now heavily indebted (Pay Each Spirit In Kind) to the Liffey. How this will manifest itself? Who knows, but will become a major plot point in the Chronicle.

Anyways, hope you’ve enjoyed! See you next time.

Comments

What a great read! I love your presentation of the Shadow, and it seems that Spectral Wolf is intriguing? Is it a Lodge Totem?
Also, did John lose Harmony for eating the Claimed?

 

Thanks! I’m not too sure on my details on the AP front, but practise makes etc!

Spectral Wolf is mechanically Ethan’s Buddy Spirit Touchstone, though he’s about rank three. He’s probably Ethan’s main contact into Death Wolf’s Court (we haven’t hammered the actual details for Ethan’s special method of joining a Tribe). Whether he’s a Lodge patron? Who knows? Lodges have been neglected at the moment. But come the change of scope in Story 2, that will change – Lorcan is destined OC to join a regional version of the Lodge of the Hooked Hand from Werewolf Second Ed Core.

John didn’t! He keeps on going up, probably due to the fact I’m still a bit unfamiliar with the new Harmony paradigm. I aim to fix this oversight ;)

EdGilbert

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