Aleister had gotten himself abducted. Taken to a desert, drugged, and detained for over a month, Aleister found himself dumped back into the territory where he first changed and face-to-face with a tree spirit named Hickory-Sticks. The spirit thanked him for his family’s support of the land and expressed regret for his uncle’s death in the spirit wilds. He left for Winston-Salem.
The group had gathered at the bar, having been unable to hunt down Aleister in the interim. They noticed a new Uratha had arrived to present himself, an older wolf named Scott Larson. He had noticed some strange scents near his home in Clemmons, such as the scents of a powerful Uratha and a sickly wolf. Scott had been brought here by his connections to the pack’s territory at the Wake Forest University Campus. In fact, Scott had once briefly been one of Bentley’s teachers there. Walt mentioned that he knew of a wolf-blooded staying on the campus. Jeremy reasoned that the Pure might try to add to their ranks from local wolf-blooded with the potential to change.
Aleister unceremoniously showed up, brushing off his ordeal and ready to get back to business. Jeremy was surprised to see him, but told him that someone had been covering for him at work since he vanished. Aleister took this news in stride and decided to hunt downtown for whatever means the Pure were using to gain access to the territory. The consensus was that the Pure were probably using the same locus being dominated by the Azlu to enter the territory undetected, but the latter were doing a suspiciously good job of covering their tracks and leaving no trace for the Forsaken to hunt them through. He did, however, find the scent of death mixed with that of a wolf in the area, which he thought might lead to the college campus.
Meanwhile, the rest of the pack and Scott searched for signs of the wolf-blooded on campus, expecting to find signs of the Pure as well. What they found, instead, was evidence that the wolf-blooded—a young man named Ian Coen—was on the verge of the First Change. He had been getting into altercations with other students and had very recently destroyed the workout equipment in one of the gym areas. Scott noticed that he had left his blood behind and got a taste of it so as to better follow Ian’s scent. He followed it around campus and asked a few questions before following it to a dead end in the parking lot.
After asking around and investigating a few places they knew he had been, the group found that he had gotten into a fight with another student, Martin Lumly. He was in the computer lab that day, but after his incident in the gym he had gone home. The local spirits had picked up on his anger, as well as that of another creature that smelled like a wolf and looked like a fiery-haired man. A bit more investigation revealed that the red-hair was Martin, with whom Ian had been fighting recently. The campus was a bit cleared out for winter break, which gave them some extra mobility.
Walter found something that he thought the group would want to see in the basement of the science lab. It was a corpse, over a week old and completely missing its skin. Though it was hard to tell because of the state of decomposition brought on by a brood of cockroaches nesting in the corpse, they determined that it was the body of Martin Lumly. Someone had taken his skin and been wandering the campus wearing his face.