Anima Threshold

Introductions and Changes

Aleister mostly keeps to himself. A paramedic living in Winston-Salem, he sometimes watches over his uncle’s cabin in Pilot Mountain—when it is rented out to the occasional local looking for an outdoors experience—where he can hunt and fish in peace. Bentley Davenport is the life of the party, wherever that party may be. It just so happens for Bentley and his friends that the party is a raging kegger at a cabin he rents from some dude he went to high school with back in the day when he had a lame name his parents gave him.

Bentley and Aleister both are seeing some weird things. The former is seeing trees move like they were alive while the biggest wolf you ever saw is following the latter around, and both of them get the weirdest feeling when they touch that cane with the silver bird’s head for a pommel that Mr Steiner left behind before he took off. It gets worse. There’s some sort of creature that keeps popping up that only they can see. Like a cross between a bird of prey and a big cat, it howls at them like it means to do them damage.

That girl Jessica is acting odd. Not just slutty like she normally does, but downright eerie. Maybe it’s the full moon making her be so crazy. Either way, she says someone is special at the party and to prove her point she took a bite out of Nick. Around that time the bird-cat thing chased Aleister inside and started trying stalking around the grounds. Jessica turned into a big wolf-looking thing and everybody went crazy. Hard to remember, but she and that bird-cat chased Aleister and Bentley down before they came to in their respective hiding spots.

Bentley was changing. That giant bite he took to the head was healing pretty quickly, all thing considered; and, come the next gibbous moon he started seeing things differently. Aleister was keeping an eye on him when it went down and he changed, just like the woman Jessica had several nights past. He called Walter Steiner to ask if that cane was messing with their minds or something and was surprised to find Walter was outside his house, saying he would explain later. They drugged Bentley with a sedative and then cornered him in the movie theater lobby he was trashing. When Aleister hit him with the cane it left the deepest welt he had ever seen on a body and gave Walter a chance to subdue him.

Walter told them they had both been living a lie, that they were werewolves and that life was going to be different now. When it came time for Aleister’s change under the crescent moon, they made sure he was thoroughly held down with rope and chain.

Initiation and the Shadow

They had been introduced to other werewolves, who called themselves Uratha. Bentley had chosen to join the Storm Lords, a testament to his self-assurance against weakness. Aleister became one with the Hunters in Darkness, the better to hone his hunting instinct and protect what was his. In order to help them on their way, the other local packs gave the new pack some of the downtown territory that they had not been able to pay close attention to lately and fashioned them some tools to aid in the process of maintaining said territory. Bentley had fashioned for him a Mask of Life fetish from a pair of Ray Bans, the better to keep anyone from witnessing physical weakness on his part. Aleister chose to accept a Spirit Drum fetish to help ease his interaction with local spirits and a few Storm Bullet talens to make his hunting more effective. The burgeoning pack had formed around the crow spirit totem Bright-Eyes-Clarion-Call on the condition that the more experienced Walter Steiner joined them. He also bestowed upon them the abilities of increased occult knowledge and speech with bird spirits, along with a ban dictating that they leave him shiny objects weekly in a prominent place.

Aleister then set about town marking the pack’s new territory while Bentley decided to meet the local spirits close to the bar scene with another local pack member, getting into a fight with an anger spirit residing at a pub known for its aggressive clientele. The fight went poorly when the spirit incensed other spirits against Bentley and he backed down begrudgingly.

Walter decided to show them some of the more interesting local spirits staying at the local hospital, including a kinship spirit hiding in the waiting room and a more powerful cancer spirit. They discussed the potential implications of the cancer spirit adding the kinship spirit’s nature to its own and spreading cancer among local families, which Aleister found unsettling. During the night they also moved back and forth between the physical world and the Shadow. They also practiced fighting against one another and healing wounds, taking on a bit of essence in the process to aid them.

Cancer and Libation

Bentley put out feelers to get advice for starting a successful bar. Since he is not a numbers guy, he tried to dig into the logistics with a local bar owner. After a few drinks he noticed his companion acting strangely, ridden by a spirit. Said spirit urged its host to ask him for a libation as chiminage to secure endorsement for his business.

Meanwhile, Aleister was investigating the hospital he works at to understand the influence of the cancer spirit he encountered there. He noticed the kinship spirit sitting with a family, its influence extending to them and a patient in a nearby room. The patient happened to be Amy, apparently the only other survivor of the cabin massacre who lost her boyfriend Jermaine along with all of her friends. Seeing Aleister, she assumes he is there to run tests on her and tells him that on top of everything she has brain cancer.

Aleister finds the cancer spirit and confronts it about its attachment to Amy and got little result from trying to get it to back down. He also noticed the spirit subtly influencing the lights in the cancer ward. He has become worried that the cancer spirit is not only likely to grow out of control by devouring other spirits, but that it is directing its influence maliciously against the pack.

Aleister and the rest of the pack decide to shut the cancer spirit down, splitting up and approaching the problem from different directions. Walter follows the cancer spirit, tracking its movements, learning its name is Rotting-Heart and that it sometimes leaves the cancer ward when following a favored host to the disease. Aleister speaks to local spirits attempting to understand its ban and learns that it vanished for an extended period when the host it was riding died with the spirit fettered to its flesh, conjecturing that this might be connected to Rotting-Heart’s ban. Bentley followed Amy and tried to get her to open up about her cancer symptoms to find any connection between Rotting-Heart’s influence and her illness and found that she might be under its influence during their meeting.

Calling Aleister, Bentley shares what has happened and Aleister guesses that Amy is being ridden by Rotting-Heart. The pack gathers with a slightly intoxicated Amy and Aleister cuts off her circulation enough to knock her out (earning a Willpower point for succumbing to his Vice of Wrath). They then take her to the hospital where they fast-talk their way into using an examination room. They call upon Peter, the Ithaeur of another local pack, to help them coax Rotting-Heart from Amy and into a plant, which they then burn into cinders. Rotting-Heart vanishes, knowing what happens to spirits who ignore the warnings of this pack.

Abductions and Venus

The pack joins together for lunch, a hunt planned by Walt in which they take down and devour a deer. Afterwards, Walt explains that they have been summoned to a meeting with the location spirits Burke and Local Trade. That evening, the crescent moon begins; it is Aleister’s auspice moon. Before the meeting, the pack (with the help of Peter Vandemeer) captures an intoxication spirit and bind it into an alcohol talen. On their way to the meeting, Bentley shares the libation with Burke—inhabiting an older well-dressed man’s body.

At the meeting, Local-Trade invokes the pack’s pledge to protect the territory of Trade Street from the actions of malicious spirits such as Rotting-Heart in exchange for his endorsement of Bentley’s night club plans. As a show of good faith, it asks that they find a missing homeless person called Old Joe who is well-liked by the local intoxication spirits. They agree, noticing a heavy-set man watching them and snatching a fly from the air.

Searching for leads, they find that there has been a rash of disappearances not just on Trade Street, but all around the local area. The disappearances have been occurring for weeks and have been seemingly random aside from a few obvious examples among homeless people. Also, they learn that local fly spirits have been nervous recently.

Looking for areas that the spirits have been avoiding recently they are led to a cafe’s alley dumpster, where they encounter the heavy-set man devouring maggots out of the dumpster by the handful, using his hands to absorb them. The maggots are swarming over what looks like the corpse of Old Joe. When confronted, the man grabs Walt in a bear hug and his chest opens up into a devouring mouth, dealing horrible damage to Walt. Aleister and Bentley take on their Gauru forms and attack the Spirit-Claimed man. They thoroughly beat him before demanding to know his role in Old Joe’s death. He tells him that he found the man dead and brought him across the Gauntlet to serve as a nest for the maggots upon which he feeds. Aleister decides to let him go. Needing more leads and suffering extensive damage, they decide to sleep on the events of the night and look for more information the next day.

Infiltrate and Confront

Bentley attempts to learn a new gift and upon meeting with a lune spirit in the form of a luna moth is told that he must earn greater renown in order to be taught the gift he seeks. It tells him to seek for a vision in order to find his path to further renown. He later sleeps and dreams of a luna moth suspended above a tree in front of the moon. The tree is next to the cabin where he first saw another werewolf and the cabin itself is dark. Finding himself inside, he sees a broken mirror in the bathroom and in its reflection is one of his friends who vanished the last night he spent here, screaming silently next to his ear.

The pack talks about his vision and the missing people from Trade Street. Bright-Eyes gives them access to some of his occult knowledge to interpret Bentley’s dream and they decide that the cabin is a good place to look for information. The decision is reinforced when Aleister realizes his uncle who owns said cabin hasn’t spoken with him since his change and can’t be contacted.

After walking from the outskirts of Pilot Mountain’s woods to the cabin, they find the area covered in spider webs. Entering the cabin to see the image of Bentley’s dead friend Jermaine being torn apart as he was on the night of his death, they quickly step back outside, find an old hickory tree, and cross into the Shadow. There, they hear a piercing shriek similar to Aleister’s and Bentley’s first spirit encounter, and are approached by a massive spirit with features of a lion and a bird of prey. Hiding, they hope to get the drop on it; but, it tears through the Shadow reflection of the porch and attacks Bentley. After a brutal fight, everyone is pretty badly injured—especially Walt.

Crossing back over, they are confronted by Jessica, another werewolf they have already met. She challenges Bentley to show his fighting prowess and he declines. Soon, her pack arrives and surrounds the area. They tell Aleister that they have driven from the territory an azlu—also known as a spider host—that had been sealing the local area away from the local gauntlet. He explains that he is looking for someone that disappeared in the area. The pack leader offers to allow Jessica and Bentley to fight and decide the consequences of the intrusion. Bentley narrowly wins as a flock of crows flies overhead and the pack breaks away in their direction. Fleeing back to Walt’s vehicle, everyone is pretty thoroughly battered, but Bentley has proven his glory in single combat.

Ritual and Extermination

The pack approached members of another local pack in order to speak to their rite master, a woman named Kathy. They were warned that she had a general bias against men. She invited them into her home and gave them tea, while listening to their stories and agreed to perform the rite of healing for Walt and Aleister in exchange for a future favor to be determined. Taking them to her basement, which had a pantry full of ritual materials, she performed the rite. Aleister opted against spending his own essence to fuel the right. Kathy also performed the rite of the spirit brand for Bentley, to recognize his newly-earned glory from his battle with the Pure werewolf Jessica. Finally, she agreed to teach Aleister the ritual for banishing a human from the Shadow, in order to aid in his attempts to save the missing locals from Trade Street.

Having recovered, the pack members went and sought out essence from various loci known to them, having negotiated for it from the spirits in the surrounding areas. Then, they set about trying to find the abductees from the Trade Street area. Having found a missing person flyer in that area, Bentley called the number and talked to a paranoid man who claimed that his friend had disappeared soon after speaking to a missionary woman from a local shelter.

Investigating the spirit world they found that it was so full of spider webs that they could hardly peer across the gauntlet to see the area’s Shadow. The webs seemed to be focused near the bus station. They happened upon the man in the flyer outside of the bus station while looking for the woman who last saw him and tried to corner him in the bathroom there, but he caused enough of a scene that a police officer got involved and Bentley had to use a Gift to win their release from the situation. One of the gaping bystanders, they noticed, was the woman from the shelter.

Later, they returned and found the man sneaking into the bus station to meet the shelter woman. They attempted to sneak in themselves and Aleister caught the man’s notice, then opted to shoot the glass door out with his shotgun. Bentley found his way into the bathroom and noticed spider webs filling one of the stalls, encasing some sort of mass. Meanwhile, Aleister had entered a brawl with the man and woman, quickly joined by Walt and followed soon after by Bentley. The woman attempted to scurry away along the walls and ceiling as the man bit into Aleister’s face multiple times with poisonous mandibles. The pack tore into them and realized their skins were husks exploding with spiders, which attempted to scurry away.

They heard sirens approaching and quickly attempted to eradicate any evidence of their presence, especially the camera system, before escaping into the Shadow…

… Where they found a den full of lost people webbed up, some of them bursting with spidery masses. Aleister—in dalu form—sprang into action and began to exorcise the humans from the spirit realm using his newly acquired rite, saving eight out of eleven from being overwhelmed by swarms of spiders.

They tore apart the webs and found another egress from the Shadow. Walt and Aleister went back to see what the police had discovered and saw a familiar E.M.T. named Stash. Aleister approached to speak to him in his human form and Stash immediately reacted to the poisoned bites on his face. The woman in Stash’s care took a long look at Aleister and began to shriek upon recognizing him from minutes before. Confronted with a human who had seen him in the Shadow and now in multiple of his werewolf forms, Aleister’s mind slipped (failed Harmony roll for exposing humans to the existence of werewolves, and development of irrationality derangement) as he began to rationalize the situation. After all, it wasn’t his fault he tried to save the woman. Better than if he had tried to kill her, at least, wasn’t it?

Favors and Addiction

Kathy called in her marker. She described a man popular in the social scene who appeared often at night with different tattoos and a crowd of imitators. She wanted him dealt with so that he would stay away from a certain women’s shelter and a girl there named Mary. Kathy did not give much else in terms of information, but she trusted that the pack ought to be able to find them if they pooled their talents.

Bentley hit up some friends looking for a way to make money and was given a package of illegal material to trade to a man in the music bar called the Garage. Aleister called him and realized that Bentley was heading to the same bar that his quarry was known to hang out. The pack met up outside the bar and exchanged notes. Bentley got everyone into the Garage and used a Gift to get the bartender to give him a free beer, met with his associate, and made the exchange. Walt and Aleister looked around for the man, finding a bunch of drugged out socialites wearing tattoo sleeves circling around a man with very real and extensive tattoos on his arms. Aleister had Bright-Eyes search for any local spirit activity and found that an addiction spirit was floating about, though Bright-Eyes did not want to stick around because of the many flashy distractions in the bar. When the man made to leave, Aleister followed and noticed a cop eyeing him suspiciously. He confronted him and was told to move along and mind his business. Walt followed the addiction spirit and Bentley asked the stragglers about the man—whose name was Troy—and his whereabouts. Nobody knew for sure where he would be, but a friend of his named Philip was going to be at an after party.

Philip was a pretty boy who seemed welcoming to Bentley and asked him about his plans to build up a new bar, telling him he needed to plan it out. When asked about Troy, he said that Troy stayed in a lot of places and was hard to get ahold of during the day. Walt let the rest of the pack know where the addiction spirit ended up—one of the more run down neighborhoods on Silas Creek Parkway.

The pack followed the spirit into the Shadow and found it surrounded by an ethereal trail of blood and needles. Upon seeing the spirit itself, they found that it looked like a rippling curtain of flesh and moaning mouths. They approached it and asked about Troy. It could only say that where Troy went, addiction followed, and that it was pleased to not need to exert its influence directly to get a consistent flow of essence. It also warned that it would be displeased if he were to cease creating essence for it to feast upon.

Re-entering the physical world, they tried to sneak into the cellar of the house Troy had entered; but, Bentley fell through the brittle wood of the stairs and made a huge racket. He saw a silhouette descending the stairs into the basement and bolted, joined shortly by the rest of the pack. They decided to approach Troy very carefully next time.

Desire and Bloodletting

The pack tried to get a fresh lead on Troy and decided to investigate the women’s shelter to see what effect he was having there. Bentley managed to spook the desk clerk with his forwardness and found himself speaking with a police detective, who escorted him from the premises and mentioned that he should tell Aleister to show up a few minutes early to his next work shift. He ran into Philip, who offered him some possible work in the near future with an associate.

Aleister encountered the spirit Local-Trade, visible in the Shadow as a rippling pool of water full of many varied images. Local-Trade offered to find Troy in exchange for payment in memories, telling him he had recently done business with Walt. Aleister asked how they could go about finding him and Local-Trade told him they would need to better understand Troy’s nature, especially how he managed to inspire addiction in others.

Bentley went scanning for access to the Shadow to try that angle and came upon a couple of Latino gangbangers getting aggressive with a young lady. Not understanding the specifics—they were speaking Spanish—he still understood their intentions were not pleasant. After confronting them nonchalantly, one of them drew a gun. Bentley waited for the woman to run and tore them apart in his gauru form, before taking off into the woods and hopping a nearby bus.

The pack reconvened at a strip club and went out to follow up their leads. Some of Troy’s crowd were hanging out at a jazz bar, with Troy, Mary, and another girl named Lacey among them. Tonight, he was sporting Celtic tattoos of life and fertility about his neck region. Bentley and Aleister approached him, talking about how to get Bentley’s bar off the ground. He told them he would be interested in having a place where he could draw a crowd and have free reign to share his drug of choice, which he described as all-natural. He also called Aleister and Bentley out for having followed him the previous night. They agreed to back off until they had a place to set up their planned bar. After giving Bentley his card, Troy went to the bathroom with Mary and the pack left. Walt split off from the pack and soon returned, telling them they needed to see something.

They followed him in the Shadow to a nearby highrise and found his apartment, where Aleister saw him drinking the blood of Lacey. He licked the wound that he caused and it vanished before the vision faded from Aleister’s sight. Troy was a vampire. The pack debated what to do about this. Neither Walt nor Bright-Eyes had ever seen anything like this before.

They met altogether with Local-Trade and, after some deliberation, Aleister offered to trade a favored memory of watching a daytime drama (Judging Amy) with his mother in exchange for a useful location that could be used to meet with Troy the following night. They then called Troy and set up a meeting with him for 10 P.M. the following night.

When morning came, Aleister met with the police detective Scott Byrne and was taken to the station where he was asked to view some photos of people he had freed from the Shadow. He asked a few probing questions about Aleister’s time in the service, his gun collection, his recent injuries, and his acquaintance with certain individuals. He played dumb, and was told that his uncle Cyrus was officially listed as missing for four days. Byrne also requested that he call him if he were to hear anything or leave town.

That afternoon, Bentley and Aleister were each attacked in their respective homes by shotgun and uzi-wielding Latino men. Both managed to kill their quarries and escape into nearby woods. Aleister turned their guns on them and killed them in dalu form, while Bentley took on gauru form and crushed the van in which they were chasing him and then beat them to death. Before his last attacker lost consciousness, Bentley managed to pry from him the name of the person who had sent them: Reina AraƱa.

Pack Mates and Pit Falls

As Aleister, Bentley, and Walter were attacked at their respective homes by what seemed to be Latino hit squads a new comer to town, Jeremy, Had just arrived and was speaking to the W-S PD about his new assignment. Drug and gun traffic had come to an abrupt halt before an incident at the local bus station. Said incident left the area somehow covered in spider webs, with the flayed skins of two people strewn out upon the floor, and somehow filled with confused witnesses that were not present upon officer arrival. While catching Jeremy up on these issues, word was received of two shootings in the area, one of which was at Aleister Van Wick’s home.

After hearing about the possible Gang activity and all the crimes that had been happening in the area, he went and looked at the death images left in the bus station on both sides of the Gauntlet. There were human and spider bodies as well as spiderwebs everywhere. After this investigation and uneventful calls to Aleister and Bentley’s phones by the police, who had them as suspects from the bus station murder crime scene, Jeremy the new detective was sent to see if there was any gang related activity.

Meanwhile, Bentley waited in a nearby wooded area in Urshal form for his wounds to heal and Aleister in Dalu hunted around for medicinal herbs to aid the healing process. When the calls from detective Byrne came in Aleister fearing a trace threw his phone as far as possible and hid in a near by tree waiting for the healing to take effect. Bentley—unable to use hands and having partially absorbed his phone—was unable to answer. When Jeremy arrived at Aleisters home, he was able to taste the blood left by Aleister’s wounds and track him into the woods. There was a tense conversation where the two shifted forms to show they weren’t enemies before deciding to call the packs alpha for instructions.

Walt answered the phone upset that Aleister had left the bodies of his attackers out in the open and in police custody. They agreed to meet at the locus they went to after their First Change; and, Walter got Bentley to move that way as well after phone contact was reestablished.

The group—after deciding they unanimously thought he was too frank with his thoughts—labeled Jeremy a dick, and further decided that the bodies being left to the cops was a terrible idea. Walter relayed his story of feeding the bodies to a cockroach spirit, which Bentley and Aleister thought was an excellent means of disposing of unwanted evidence. The group bantered a bit, filling Jeremy in on what was going on with the attacks and the dynamics as a pack before they decided to use the grass spirit as a means for body clean up. But the problem of Aleister’s military past posed a problem, they keep all soldiers’ DNA on file. So, Bentley and Jeremy left to speak with Mega—a hacking Uratha in north Winston—while Walter and Aleister spoke with the grass spirit to trade the bodies and blood at the scene for a more commanding presence at the nearby locus.

Bentley and Jeremy, after hearing that Mega found Bentley cute, stopped at the gym to see if they could get an edge dealing with her before the meeting. When they arrived at her small basement home, they were amazed by the large array of tech she had and how candid she was with secrets. They traded secrets including Bentley’s real name (Trevor Jacobs), what Walter traded, and Jeremy’s name to have Aleister’s military DNA file wiped.

Meanwhile, Walter and Aleister formed a plan to sneak in using Feet of Mist to conceal their movements after they caused a distraction to get the bodies to where the grass spirit could eat them. Aleister threw two rocks one at a house and another at a car setting off its alarm, distracting the police long enough to get the bodies. The grass spirit devoured them in an explosion of mold and decay while Aleister used create water to mark the blood, which was overgrown by grass in seconds.

Having completed this task the foursome went to the meeting with Troy, the vampire. On the way getting a leash so Aleister could come along and not be seen by the police who wanted him in questioning for all the strange happening in the area that he seemed to always be involved in. When they made it to Burke street, the Totem said there was an influence messing with his control of the birds in the area and the pack tracked using bird communication to a rooftop. There a flock of birds revealed a hobo-like man inhabiting in place of a bird watching the area. After he tried to flee, Aleister tried to catch it and Bentley was successful in threatening it down where it was questioned. However, the interrogation was somewhat inconclusive due to the directional language used to converse with the bird that merely answered in general terms.

It flew off, the pack moved into the old Morning Dew, and Troy met them upset by the lack of an actual bar being built. Aleister attempted to negotiate a deal with Troy to get him to help open a bar with them and stop harassing a ward of a neighboring pack, calling him out as a vampire. Troy was quite incensed by this notion and when Jeremy tried to find out what they were all talking about, further escalated the issue and Troy attempted to leave. In the chaos, Bentley attempted to save the bar idea and Mary’s safety—admitting that the pack were all werewolves—by offering Walt’s and his own father’s money as investments. Troy begrudgingly agreed and left. The pack then using Jeremy’s police ties decided to look at the problem from Mary’s side to see if she could be persuaded in case the unlikely bar was not to come to fruition and her rescue.

Interrogation and Interment

The pack was about its business: Jeremy put his face out there for the local gangs to see, Bentley looked into loan options for his bar, and Aleister went looking for the crow from the night before with Bright-Eyes.

Jeremy talked to Mary Boose at the women’s shelter about ruling her out of an investigation involving her known associates—including Troy—hoping to keep her away from trouble. Bentley managed to connect with his acquaintance, Philip Weir, who asked him to meet for drinks and talk about a job. Aleister found a storage unit on Country Club Road that Bright-Eyes had felt an opposing influence over the local crows and called Walt to meet up. Walt told the other pack members to meet him there in an hour.

Aleister managed eventually scale the fence into the storage lot, to bite the lock off of the storage unit indicated by Bright-Eyes, and felt unease when he looked around inside of it. It seemed innocuous enough—mostly full of gardening tools and bags of mulch—so, Aleister glimpsed across the Gauntlet. He saw a musty swirl of spirit motes and a seven-feet-long nightcrawler worm. Rearranging the room a bit, he found a hole in the concrete floor under the mulch bags. When Jeremy arrived, he used his Death Sight to see traces of blood that completely filled the hole in the floor. He used his bone whistle and saw the vague outline of the crow man beneath the dirt. Footsteps approached and quickly retreated upon seeing the two Uratha in their Urshul forms.

Bentley and Walt arrived to see dirt scattered everywhere from Aleister and Jeremy digging up the crow man. They exhumed the man and found him drowsy and angry, letting out a high-pitched whistle. Aleister licked his face to defuse any violence as a storm of crows rushed in. Jeremy tried to exchange numbers and received a fistful of dirt, which he pocketed. Aleister guessed that the man was another vampire and wondered if they might be cursed by the sun in some fashion similar to the Forsaken’s curse by Luna. Possibly, he thought, this could be exploited if he could find a sun spirit. Bright-Eyes told him that this spirit choir was comprised of Helions and that the sun’s Incarna was known as Helios.

Before splitting up again, the pack discussed how to deal with the police investigations into their respective home front battles. Bentley went to meet with Philip, sip an appletini, and discuss his prospects. Philip told him that he could earn money by working with one of his associates by acting as an ice-breaker with potential clients needing loans to supplement their medical insurance; and, he made it clear that Bentley could make extra money dealing to said clients in the process. Bentley agreed, and went on to his police interview.

Bentley’s interview went fairly well. He gave Jeremy—who had showed up to keep tabs—a knowing smile on his way out the door to go home and collect some personal items. Aleister was stuck in the interrogation room for three hours, sorting through various oddities of his recent life: the cabin massacre, the bus station confrontation, the break-in to said bus station, and the murders inside his own home. The threat of incarceration threatened to rattle his rational mind, but Aleister managed to keep his cool and refrain from breaking under the pressure of the interrogation process for some time, knowing that without evidence from the crime scene at his house the police could not hold him for more than twelve hours.

Jeremy managed to mangle the audio for the interrogation while one of his fellow police took a smoke break, but Detective Byrne told him that the shotgun registered to Aleister was a ballistics match to the gun used to shoot out the door to the bus station. The pressure was getting to Aleister, but just before it seemed he was ready to crack an officer informed Byrne that witnesses had confirmed an alibi for Aleister. Apparently, he had spent most of the afternoon at the Reynolda Gardens Center speaking to Amy Seibert. He was free to go.

The pack reconvened and argued over the idea of confronting the crow man again, but decided to go for it—with the caveat that Walt would kill him if it seemed the most sensible option to him in the moment. No need for two vampires with a grudge against the pack. They arrived back at the storage lot and found him perched on top of a unit, surrounded by crows. Jeremy approached and apologized for earlier. The crow man offered his name—Simon—and accepted the apology begrudgingly. He probed Aleister—who had come in wolf form—in some manner of animal speech, asking about his nature. Simon seemed to know that they were not what they seemed.

Jeremy wanted to convince Simon to give the pack information about their Azlu enemies in exchange for goods and services, but he seemed less inclined to accept these offerings than Troy had been. He tried to convince Aleister to show him his true form, but the latter did not want to reveal himself after some of his recent issues surrounding the secrets of the People. Jeremy managed to convince Simon that the pack did not mean to bring him harm, promising to give him a significant space overlapping with their territory—the Joanie Moser public park—that he would have to himself, free from pack interloping. As a gesture of good faith, he told the pack that an enemy of theirs—a woman—had asked him to help her gather local wolf spiders in large numbers. He did not offer to tell her whereabouts or whether he had made efforts to help this woman.

The group together designated a specific crow to act as a messenger in the event that the pack needed to contact Simon again. Walt took a taste of its blood, so that he might track it by scent in the future. The pack and Simon parted ways on relatively good terms, for the moment.

Finally, the pack went to see Kathy and inform her of their progress. She introduced herself to Jeremy, invited the pack in for tea, and discussed with them Troy and the women’s shelter. She told Aleister that the shelter was, to her, a sacred place. Even though it was not in her territory, she felt it important to keep it safe from corrupting influences like Troy. She seemed satisfied that he not interact with the shelter or its residents directly, so long as he stayed away from it and Mary.

Aleister began to ask Kathy about bringing together the local packs to fight off the Pure in the area; and, she told him that until his pack could effectively control their own territory such an arrangement would be unlikely. He told her that tactically it seemed unwise to let the threat of the Pure grow unchecked, which irritated her into lecturing him about the precedence of duties for the Uratha to their territories. She added that the other packs were currently acting as a buffer against the Pure while his own pack developed its strength. When he called the other packs foolish for failing to join together and face this mutual threat, she kicked the pack out of her home and sent them on their way.

The pack resolved to lay low for a bit while they built their foundations for the bar and established plausible ties to the prospective establishment. There was plenty of time to build and prepare while the heat died down from their recent adventures.


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