Fire and Brine

Story One - A Place Called Home - Chapter Two

Welcome back! The session kicks off straight after the last one. This session is where I start getting back into the hang of DMing after a drought. It’s been ages since I’ve ran scenes in the Shadow, and I’m relatively pleased with how I ran it. I gotta say, the social manoeuvring mechanics are just perfect for major spirit interactions.

Anyways, back to the action!

The group are discussing their next steps, which the Uratha quickly decide on getting a totem. Jack looks quizzical and asks, “What’s a totem?”

Blue replies, “It’s a spirit that’s bonded to a group of werewolves, and mortals, it’s how you make a pack.”

Lorcan adds, “But there’s a cost, you take on a Ban. Something you can’t do that is related to the spirit’s nature.”

John quickly explains the basics, and also covers the basics of the spirit realm, remembering the lessons drilled into him by the Residents; and relaying this to the rest of the pack impressively.

Thinking he hears a noise outside, Blue goes to the window, and sees a figure standing outside the Chase. He quickly exits the building and loops around the figure, waiting in ambush.

John’s player got an exceptional success here, so now the pack have 9-again on their first spirit roll.

Ethan muses that they should probably think about what they want to achieve as a pack as well, starting a discussion between them that leads to the conclusion that they want to defend this area, it’s home to Lorcan and Jack – and is a new place for Ethan and John. Inspired by this, the group get up to move and find a totem, and a locus as well, but find Blue gone.

Blue does this a lot, and often without the group noticing. This session tensions start to flare.

At this point, Lorcan’s phone rings, the id is Sinead.

“Soooo, I found a piece of paper at work, with this address on and a time tonight. I’m outside this place, and I hear gunshots. Lorcan, I’m standing here deciding whether I should call the police, what they hell are you doing?”

Lorcan quietly swears, and Blue listens over the distance with his enhanced wolf-senses.

Lorcan quickly thinks on his feet, “Uuuuuh, I’m just meeting up with some guys, one of them’s an idiot and brought a gun to show off. It’s nothing.”

Sinead not-so politely expresses her disbelief at this (Lorcan isn’t the best liar in the world), but Lorcan eventually persuades her everything’s cool. She snorts, “fine, but if you get go down I lose a pretty sweet job…” And she starts to walk away.

Blue from the shadow, shifts into human form and walks after her.

Sinead, hearing someone in the middle of the night, in a pretty deserted area, following her quickens her pace, and puts her hand in her coat pocket.

Blue calls out to her, hands out. “Hey! I’m, uh, Lorcan’s friend. I just let off a couple of shots. I thought I should apologise to you. This wasn’t Lorcan’s fault”

Sinead turns around, with hand still in pocket, “look I don’t know you. Just fuck off and stop following me.” At this she sees the rest of the proto-pack running down the street towards Blue whom they were looking for. Seeing Lorcan, she gives him the finger and strides off, visibly pissed off.

With Sinead gone, Ethan and Lorcan turn on Blue, “What the hell?” A small argument breaks out, with a “you don’t just stalk people we know” discussion weighing in heavily. After a while John breaks in and suggests they hit the Shadow and stop arguing. Before the go into the basement to crossover, Jack suggests he goes out and uses his contacts to see if anything is up in the area. Maybe something they can deal with?

The Pack cross over in the basement, where the Gauntles has been worn paper thin by the Beshilu. Though not strictly in the rules, it makes sense to me and group. It’s not a locus however, so if they continue using the hole as a cross-over point, they’ll start breaking the Gauntlet around there.

Crossing over, the pack once again feel the strangeness of pressing against the caul of the world and into the other side. For the briefest of moments in the Gauntlet they see strange figures off in the distance. One is about to touch-.

Their in the Shadow, walking out of the basement in the dark, stark and grey bones of the Shadow of the Chase they come outside onto the street. The world is tall, and looming. The colours are almost bleached out, and the sky is permanently overcast. Only the light of the Crescent Moon shines through, it’s light touching Ethan and he feels some energy restore.

As an Itheaur he gains an Essence.

They are increasingly aware that everything here is alive, and moving, even if it’s the slow movement of a nearby tree spirit’s branches moving towards them.

They quickly come up with a plan, and decide on exploring their territorial limits in a widespread fashion in Urhan form – but keeping within eyesight at all times. They head north, watching the wild, Darwinian nature of the Hisil – they watch as a snarling car spirit chases down a smaller one of it’s kind and consume it’s corpus, visibly growing larger. They navigate using the dome of the Church of MAry Immaculate, a shining beacon in the Shadow. They notice that the top is most likely a locus, though they imagine that whatever spirits that dwell within are most likely above their pay-grade for now. Continuing north they edge around the Barracks, where the buildings meld into one looming, continue wall of groaning masonry, where on top strange searchlights beam across the perimeter.

Soon, they reach the northern most boundary, the Grand Canal. Specifically Portobello bridge, which in the Shadow spans a much wider canal, one that is worryingly stained red underneath the bridge. On the bridge is a stranger sight however, waiting and staring at the group is a massive bleeding horse, made of ephemeral shadow.

The group approach the spirit, and ask what it is. It explains, “I GUARD THE WAY.” They quickly find out that the thing is a spirit of boundaries of sorts, and has been warped by the legend of the bleeding horse across the bridge. They explain they are looking for a totem, and ask what they would have to do for the spirit to be a totem for them. It replies, “PROVE YOU ARE WORTHY.”

The thing attacks the pack, distending it’s jaw and shrieking in a distinctly non-equine fashion, dementing Lorcan, who recoils. The pack react, with John leaping into the spirit and shifting mid-leap into Urshul form and clamps his jaws down onto the neck of the horse causing great damage. Blue leaps around the fray onto the other side of the bridge looking to out flank. With the same idea, Ethan tries to leap over the canal, but the edges are wider apart than they look and he falls into the water.

The water moves around him with grasp hands and pulls him under. Ethan begins to drown.

Lorcan, with the infernal screaming still in his head, and swings his sword into the creature, cutting it despite the ringing in his ears. John continues to clamp down on the horse, who bends it’s knee and stops fighting – capitulating. “YOU ARE WORTHY”, it pronounces.

The group realise that Ethan is missing, and see his thrashing figure in the murk of the the Shadow Canal, and Blue dives in after him. The other two run to a nearby old-stained spirit with a life-hoop. They try to tug the hoop out of it’s grasp, but the thing cackles, “price must be paid!”. Lorcan begins losing his temper, and whales on the small Hursih, biting into it’s corpus and consuming it’s essence.

Meanwhile Blue is battling the water spirits trying to drag Ethan to the bottom, enduring their blows he drags Ethan out in an explosion of water-ephemera. Ethan begins to retch water out onto the side.

Striding over, Blue shifts into Gauru and thunders at the two near the life-hoop, shoving Lorcan. John tries to calm Blue down, they were trying to help, but the spirit wasn’t playing ball. Blue shifts out of Gauru, his eyes narrowed.

Turning back to the Totem, they ask how they will form the totemic bond, it replies, “A PRICE MUST BE PAID”, and bleeds some of its essence into the canal its bridge crosses. The pack follow suit and bleed into the canal, becoming a pack.

Yay! One of their objectives completed. The pack gain a lot of beats this session, for various reasons. Mostly they complete a lot of stuff (it was a long session, about 5 hours), and also I’m hopelessly generous.

With a totem, they now need to find a locus for reliable travel between the worlds. They know of the one at Mary Immaculate, but that isn’t secure in the way that another could be. The trouble is knowing where a locus could be. They decide on beating the knowledge out of spirit that might know, specifically one hat travels about. Like, that car spirit they saw earlier?

The perform the Rite of the Sacred Hunt at the bridge. They write in blood yielded by Lorcan blade onto the flanks of their new totem, and then begin to ritually hunt it. At the culmination they feel something fall onto their beings, and they begin to hunt the true target, chasing the spoor of the spirit through the streets and until they find it blasting around the roads in what looks like a residential area. They quickly decide on a plan to herd it around into a street where Blue waits in ambush. The plan works and the thing is ambushed by Blue in Urshul form who pounces onto the thing and tears into it’s corpus with the pack joining soon after. They take their share of essence and demand the location of a locus out of the spirit. The spirit, unable to resist, forlornly shows the way and leads them to a small little pack, rusted iron gates reaching up to the sky, holding in a thicket of wild growth.

Blue snarls “Run” at the spirit and it flees.

Not that this behaviour gets you enemies…

They head in, unlocking the gates with the Gift of the Bleeding Horse.

Their totemic advantage is “All Door Open” facet, a useful advantage to be sure. They must however spend something crossing bridges. This can be something like a penny coin, but they must do it.

Inside is a small memorial stone, it’s details long since worn away. There is a small pool of water collected at the bottom, glistening with essence. The stone is the locus they were looking for. The area feels… Heavy with reflection, the stone radiates out a resonance of Remembrance. The light in the glade shifts, with a voice demanding to know what they doing in “its” grove, explaining it is the guardian of this place. They bargain with the guardian spirit, offering gathra as an appeasement. They explain that their goals are the same, and Lorcan eloquently describes who they are loyal defenders, with a keen sense of respect for their territory and greatly impresses the spirit, helped by his Gifts.

The pack are allowed to use the locus, and shift over. The figures just out of sight are still there as they travel briefly through the Gauntlet.

They go back, and seeing as it’s nearly morning, and rest.

The next day. The weather has got worse, winds are picking up, and there’s that pernicious light drizzle in the air.

In the morning the pack split up, catching up of duties or pursuing they own lines of inquiry about the territory.

John, under the suggestion of the Residents, goes down to the Black Rock pack where there is a Storm Lord that might be able to help give some advice, Tribe member to Tribe member. He meets the pack’s Itheaur Storm Lord, Winds Whisper – an older woman dressed in practical hard wearing gear,. She explains it’s quite simple really, you find what’s wrong, what’s messing with the spirit and flesh and stop it before it gets out of hand. She pays close attention to spirit intruders into the flesh. The trick, she says with a grin, is actually stopping that. John leaves, thanking her – and she reminds him that there’s a Tribal gathering on Friday, for the storm that’s coming. He’ll be messaged the details. He heads back to an argument at the Chase.

Blue sleeps at the chase, and in the morning meets Jack, who has news. Apparently there is a new drug out, Black Veins. So called because of the marks around the needle marks. It’s dangerous, some people who take it apparently go mental, screaming at things that aren’t there. Apparently one or two attacks have been because of it. They hear a scream downstairs.

Ethan, earlier that morning, meets Jackie who has been texting him that they need to meet up. They decide to meet up in an old hideout of the old gang, a pub called the Old Curio. Jackie explains, shaken, that she’s been getting texts from “Dave”, an old member of their cult. He been asking to meet up, at an old housing block in a rough area south of Rathmines. The thing is, she definitely remembers Dave dying on the night. Ethan suggets not replying to ‘Dave’ until they figure out who it is. Jackie is suspicious, though, of Ethan’s new found knowledge. Ethan explains there are some stuff that she shouldn’t know, but if she truely wants to (with no going back) she should follow him back. The arrive at the chase, and Jackie half-jokingly asks whether he’s going to kill her or not. Ethan laughs it off, and explains what he is. To which Jackie doesn’t believe him. Ethan then shape changes in front of her, to which she melts down in the throes of Lunacy and runs from the building.

Note to self: Jackie becomes Receptive.

Lorcan doesn’t have the smoothest of mornings, having turned up to work on a quiet day with the intention of working out the design for a pack tattoo. However first he has to deal with Sinead who comes in late, expressing her exasperation at what Lorcan is hiding – and the danger therein. She works in the back of the shop that morning, sorting out the paperwork that Lorcan doesn’t get around to. The afternoon comes and he heads to the Chase where Blue and Jack are arguing with Ethan who apparently just made a woman go mental and run away. Ethan bruses it off to the pack and explains it should be okay. She’ll be back.

Yeah, totally.

Going in side, with Jack they catch up together, and Jack fills them in regarding Black Veins. They also agree on a pack name, “The Bleeding Hunters”. With a pack name and totem, they decide on sanctifying their territory that night, with John knowing the rite to do so. They head to the Bleeding Horse pub to start off, and explain to Jack that he’s going to need to ‘pay the price’ at the bridge. It’s evening, so they’re going to have to be careful, but Jack bleeds into the canal and becomes part of the pack.

In reality, this pub is a bit north of the canal, not in the pack’s territory. I though that’s boring, so in the World of Darkness the Bleeding Horse is located right next to the bridge.

They do the Rite of Territory, going to the boundaries of their territory, and drinking in unison. It takes them several hours to the do the boundaries, but at the end of it, as they loop back to the beginning, they feel the spirit react to the boundary they just made.

Heading back, Jack goes off to continue to look into the Black Vein situation. The rest head to (under the direction of Ethan who know has some suspicions) 22 Killeen Road, with Ethan fully explaining what this place is to him. They arrive around a corner to the house, watching the Garda assigned to the
building. With the group wondering what to do about him, John skips over the thinking stage and runs over to the guy, landing a punch right in the face before running off.

“Fucker!” The Garda shouts and chases John off into the suburbs leaving the rest of the pack to enter the house in Urhan. Blue waits near the entrance, in case the Garda returns leaving Ethan and Lorcan to the house. Ethan immediately heads to the back of the house, to the empty living room where the rite occurred. The place hasn’t been cleaned, distressing red stains mark the walls, with hand prints dragged along the walls back towards the ritual space. In several place the walls have holes knocked in as some big smashed itself through the house.

Cough Ethan Cough

Ethan tells Lorcan to keep watch as he looks over to the Spirit side.

He sees a special kind of hell.

The house is a nightmare on the other side, the blood stains are glistening and moving, with smoke in the air weaving their almost hypnotic tendrils into patterns. The walls seem to bleed and peel away as the house reacts to someone watching them. To make matters worse the ground beneath the ritual space is break apart to form the beginnings of a hole into the ground, and hole where hungry eyes watch. And through all of this, through the windows into what would be the living room two dead shark-like eyes watch unswervingly.

“Shit”, mutter Ethan, who recommends they leave quickly, relaying what he’s seen. They retreat back to around the corner where John jogs back smiling and explaining that the Garda is now totally and hopelessly lost in the maze of houses around here.

It’s about 11 at night now, and Ethan also fills them in on Dead!David’s texts to Jackie, and the pack decide to head to the address mentioned, finding themselves out of their territory climbing the stairs of a crumbling housing project.

Knocking on the door, it creaks open revealing a shabby and dishevelled flat, with illumination coming from the living room at the back. The light is from a tv displaying hissing static to a man slumped on a chair staring off into the distance with black eyes, and black vein-like patterns around points on his arms. On the other side, Ethan notices that strange black-tar like things gather from the man, feeding off of the addiction essence around him. A larger creature is wrapped around the man’s shoulders and head.

Realising this can’t be good, they carry the guy out and take him back to near the locus, explaining to concerned passerby’s that he’s a mate who’s “had too much”. Laying him in a corner, a couple of them passover to the other side – once again seeing those shapes as they transition across.

The pack them proceed to beat the living shit out of the Urging spirit. As they discorporate the addiction spirit the man, gasps and then falls unconscious. Blue, with his paramedic training, reckons he’s slipped into a coma. They call and ambulance for the man’s location and then leg it away back to the chase.

Once there, they decide what to do next.


And that’s it! A long session, but it seems like the group is really coming together. I’m extremely pleased with the spirit world. One thing I’ve got to do now is start introducing the wider Uratha culture (something I believe I said last time, ho hum). Next session will be the last one with Blue, as his player leaves the area – so expect something there.

See you next time!

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EdGilbert

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