Laws of the Land

Session Eight

props to Zach for writing this up!

While travelling down Route 55, Sam is caught in some rough weather, which gets even rougher when he gets caught in a tug-of-war type game between two tornado sized wind spirits. The rest of the clan are alerted to a disturbance in the Shroud by a messenger sent by the hawk spirit. The spirit is perturbed enough to demand protection of his own. On the way to helping the hawk get hid in a fetter, the Pack joins Sam’s troubles in time to keep him and the family that had stumbled into the fray from being turned into a PiƱata Colada. The Pack drops the family off at the hotel they’re using as a base and proceeds to the barn to pick up the hawk and put him into a wooden carving.

The gang summons up murder of crows to pick their brains as to what is going on, spirits-wise, to cause such a disturbance in the numina, and they respond with cagey generalities. It is discovered that Storm Shouters have eyes on the assembled, and the pack gets the drop on them with a combination of a long story and a sudden flash of light providing surprisingly good punctuation. The crows give name to force behind the assaults across the Shroud, the Court of the Great Wind Serpent.

Consulting with an old tree residing outside the city of Rockford, the Pack encounters one of the many Packs that are more well-wishers, in that they don’t wish Ungoliant any specific harm. They also encounter the tree which seems to know something about the situation at hand, if only it hadn’t forgotten. The Pack eventually finds out that there’s a pact between the Men on the Land and the Spirits of the Sky, and the Wind Serpent Court feels that Man has overstepped its bounds. The lynchpin seems to be the new electric windmills, or rather the ones that have been technomagically altered to fuck with Air Spirits. After retrieving a damaged blade from one of the mystic turbines and loading it on the tow truck, the Pack is ambushed by human hunters who knew exactly what they were gunning for: Werewolves. The humans are packing silver, but are soon put down, with one lone survivor taken to the nearest hospital in the hopes that he can be followed to the rest of his hunter friends.

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Session Six
Cleanup on aisle three

The combined packs of Ongoliant and the Islandeers launch the assault on Mister Savings. Gunner leads the strike from the rooftop entrance, but is ambushed by not just another werewolf, but one packing a shotgun loaded with silver slugs. He falls from the ladder he was descending, and is engulfed by Death Rage as he tears into his foe….

Samuel and Asshole run the frontal strike, and Asshole’s proves to be capable with a gun as he dispatches numerous humanform Sziraku while Samuel makes a rare display of his shapeshifting abilities and fights in Urshul form. River backs them up and eventually shreds a hybridform locust host which was waiting in ambush behind the deli counter.

Felix and John Crow lead the rear guard assaulting from the loading dock, and have a lot on their hands when they enter the stocking area to find Gunner raging out of control, and two werewolves leading the Sziraku swarm. John Crow almost meets his end trapped in the monsterous jaws of an Urhan-form, but tears its throat out even as he was about to be eaten himself. Gunner flails about, his normal fighting prowess somehow suppressed by the fury within. Eventually he succumbs to his wounds and flees in terror, but the sight of the full moon burning down on him from the night sky rekindles his rage and he charges back into the fray. Both werewolf and locust hosts are slain by the packs, and Gunner is subdued before he manages to harm any of his bretheren.

Having cleared out the hideout, the packs look for what clues they can find. Samuel discovers a makeshift shrine to Bhalphegor, Maeljin prince of Gluttony; which can only mean that their opposition were Bale Hounds, werewolves who have forsaken their connection to Luna in favor to service to one of the great Evils Incarnate of the places beyond Shadow. The swarm’s search pattern is also mapped out on a map of Peoria they find – each night the circle grows bigger as the swarm expands from the bounty of the night before. However, they can find no additional clues as to what the “orphan’s crop” is. The bodies are disposed of and the pack leaves for the night.

Two days later, local news reports that it was a hoax all along. Local self-appointed activist Ethan d’Angelo haltingly reads a statement to the press after turning himself in, confessing to sneaking into fields at night to stage the “blight” patches as a way of drawing attention to the supposed unethical practices of the major agribusiness firms.

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You Are What You Eat
A dead drop and a picket line

April 19th starts as a blustery morning as Felix & John Crow meet their mysterious informant at the Starbucks. Despite the informant conducting the Worst Dead Drop Ever, the pack acquires his leaked materials and manages to leave with none the wiser. John Crow takes down the license plate of the informant for use later.

Chatter in the aforementioned coffee shop focuses on the protest at a Ceres research station scheduled to take place at noon, as organized by the Facebook group trying to get to the truth behind the mysterious crop deaths. The pack mulls it over, and decides not to attend.

This leaves the matter of tracking down the locust hosts themselves. The plot of locust activity suggests that their foraging will cross the river that night, providing an opportunity to catch them outside of cover. Felix plans out a strategy which focuses on catching them at a pair of narrow crossings, but the overall area to cover is a little over 7 miles. Ongoliant decides to reach out to the Islanders for backup; a deal is struct with Allnighter, in exchange for a promise to provide reciprocal aid to the Islanders later on down the road.

With both packs lining the shore, they wait. A little before midnight, Gunner intercepts a trio of flying forms skimming across the lake – two clouds of locusts accompanied by a human-sized hybrid form. The locusts reform into humans once they land on the short, but a downdraft pushes the hybrid into the water, separating him from the others. Gunner kills one in a single blow, and tears a chunk out of the other while letting it escape into the wilderness. He then faces off with the hybrid and batters it into submission. The rest of the packs catch up to Gunner, and the majority of them chase off after the remaining humanform locust host while Sam remains behind with the Islanders’ ritemaster (River) to interrogate the hybrid.

The hybrid reveals that he is a devotee of Baalphegor, known to the Uratha as one of the maejin, primal spirits of sin and vice. He claims to be looking for something on behalf of Baalphegor’s high priests, described as “orphan’s crop”. He proves unwilling to divulge any more, and Sam sets him on fire while going to rejoin his packmates….

…who have tracked the surviving humanform to the nearest highway, where he appears to be trying to rendezvous with a panel van parked on the side of the road. The wolves circle their unwitting prey, and assault with deadly force. The van is overturned and left at the side of the road, and various fast-food and delivery receipts are the only clues found in the vehicle. One humanform is taken prisoner, and a second round of interrogation ensues.

Sam allows the humanform to bargain for his survival, in exchange for more information on what they’re looking for and the location of the main nest. Sam undergoes a modified version of the Shared Scent rite, and as a result learns the distict taste (including some extremely exotic but not unfamiliar notes) of the orphan’s crop, although part of the gluttonous nature of the Sziraku comes along with the ride.

Once telling the packs that the nest can be found at an abandoned supermarket on the outskirts of Peoria, the humanform is allowed to go free and told to never show his face again. He bounds northward while the pack heads south, gathering their forces for the assault upon the lair contained within the Mister Savings supermarket.

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What The Wind Blew In
A party is crashed

The morning after, the pack notices a wolf prowling around the edges of the Holloway Diary Farm. The wolf strides forth and shifts back into hishu form, introducing himself as Red Evan, alpha of the Golden Hounds. He heard the voicemail that the pack left last night regarding their success in dealing with the beshilu, and has come to congratulate them himself and discuss the pack’s future in Peoria.

Over coffe, he gets to know the pack (and vice versa) as they discuss what to do with the Holloway Farm. Given the current strained relations with the Peoria County Sheriff, another fire to explain the death of the Holloways doesn’t seem to be a viable option. In the end, they decide that a missing persons case is better than an obviously supernatural murder; the bodies are disposed of and the pack is told to keep a low profile while monitoring the Shoal that has developed on the property. Sooner or later the sheriff or a neighhbor (or the Holloway’s somewhat estranged son, Daniel) will come to investigate.

Red Evan invites the pack to stay in Peoria for a few days, and lets them know that they should come to a gathering of all the packs in Central Illinois that will be happening at the end of the month.

In the interim, the pack hunts down the final lead they had surfaced during the search for their totem. What they find is a previously-meek high school student who is has become one of the Spirit-Urged, in this case he has a backseat driver in the form of a spirit of recklessness. Gunner, Felix and John Crow track the boy to a local mall where he gets fingered for shoplifting, and with the help of Spider, Eater of Vermin they catch the spirit and provide the first meal for their totem.

On March 10th, the night before the gathering, the pack meets up with the Golden Hounds outside of the Rough House, and from there drive to Red Evan’s private cabin just outside Jubilee College State Park northwest of Peoria proper. Beer and burgers are consumed, Red Evan’s wife Claire is introduced to the pack, and stories are told around the campfire. John Crow tells the tale of the pack’s triumph at the dairy farm, impressing the Golden Hounds in the process. Ongoliant, in turn, gets a brief history of the Golden Hounds and Central Illinois. In the process, Red Evan reveals that he would like Ongoliant to consider remaining in Peoria for the time being. While they would formally hold no territory of their own, they would be recognized as a foster pack under the authority of the Hounds – a tradition which has lapsed into obscurity.

While discussing the possibilities, fireworks unexpectedly light up the night sky. Red Evan assumes that it’s nothing more than a bunch of kids out camping – which isn’t normally a problem but is a severe complication when several dozen werewolves are showing up the next day. He volunteers to head out into the woods and roust them, and Gunner tries to score some points (successfully, it seems) but going along.

Twenty minutes after Red Evan has left, Silent Night Sky catches something in a shift of the wind. Soon everyone else notices it as well – four pairs of eyes glistening at the treeline. A standoff ensues, Samuel and Smiling John armed with rifles inside the cabine while Endless Night Sky, Felix, and John Crow creating a perimter outside. Neither side is willing to pull the trigger and charge into combat. The standoff is broken when some sort of parcel is hurled from the treeline onto the roof of the cabin, and a taunting laugh in turn causes Smiling John to plunge into the woods – the battle is joined. Red Evan and Gunner hear the first gunshots of the fight, and by howls they give orders to attack and rush to the side of their packs.

John Crow finds himself face to jowl with a rahu armed with a shotgun, which is quickly rendered useless by the Ruin gift. Without his shotgun, John’s foe is no match and quickly finds himself savaged and close to death – he shifts into urshul and tries to sprint into the clearly and the safety of his pack….

Inside the cabin, Samuel’s gunshots don’t seem to be finding their mark. That quickly becomes a secondary concern as the room bursts into multicolored flame, presumably from the package that was hurled on top of the cabin moments ago. The fire consumes the roof with supernatural speed, and Samuel decides to dive into the melee as his calls upon Mother Moon to turn his teeth and claws to silver….

That same fire is turning the clearing from night to day as Sky and Felix face off against three enemy Uratha, including one who stands a foot and a half taller than the rest wielding an immense club/bludgeon/mace. With a single perfect blow he catches Endless Night Sky in the sternum and drops him to the ground, shattering ribs with two subsequent blows. Felix holds his own against one of Mister Mace’s allies, but the two are outnumbered and clearly outgunned.

With his pack on the ropes, Gunner leaps into the fray and shifts immedatiately to Garou form in the hopes of turning the tide. One of the enemy falls beneath his rage and fury, but not before Endless Night Sky takes a fourth horrific blow and is gripped by the madness of Death Rage. It is at this moment, Red Evan bursts forth and sees his friend and packmate at death’s door. Red Evan gives a thunderous howl and sprints to Sky’s defense, shifting to Garou as he hopes to save what remainds of his pack…

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Looking For Trouble In Peoria

The old totem-calling ritual didn’t have many adherents these days, but it was worth a shot. The resulting message seemed to be calling our pack to Peoria.
As soon as we got there, we made contact with the local pack, who seemed happy to let us seek our totem as long as we avoided upsetting the herd, particularly the sheriff, and steered clear of a particular crime scene.

Working within those boundaries, we searched for supernatural troubles and came across three peculiar events:

  • someone was selling “conjoined rats”
  • a lot of cockroaches were invading houses near a homeless encampment
  • a teen, Larry Montwell, had injured himself by jumping from the rafters of a gym (no word on whether he was actually awarded first prize in the slam-dunk contest)
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