Rage Across Baltimore

Third Confluence: Downtime!

Razvan, teen wolf-dad? Or teen wolf/dad?

Our next instance of downtime will see the rise of the reborn Sept of the Hidden Spring, and some parting shots/RP with the regional packs and Garou who came just to help make it happen. After that, we may have a few months’ downtime, as the new sept’s Garou will need time to rebuild. They have tunnels to cleanse, Banes to continually drive off, and the nearby city of Baltimore — still their home, sort of — is changing around them.

What will the pack have to say, after all, when they see what’s decorating the skyscraper where the Shattered Glass Hive once held sway? Signage proclaiming a corporate buyout, promising new development and jobs for the city, courtesy of the Foundation for a Better Life? What will the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe, the City Father, look like when the pack meets him next? Change is afoot in Baltimore, and just maybe, not all of it is good.

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(And yes, if enough time passes, Razvan will become a father. Zounds!)

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Rank Challenges — Razvan: The glorious Spine-Render went back to his old mentor of sorts, the Brewery’s Warder, Tracker-by-Moonlight. This time, Raz was hoping for a lesson that would teach him some better self-restraint, something to help him stave off the kind of horrific frenzy he experienced so recently (but can’t even remember). And so, Tracker, who is considering a target for his own Rank challenge, puts it to Razvan:

“The Sept of the Exiles’ Rest sent us warriors when we needed them. For their loyalty and bravery, they deserve our aid, now."

And since their small sept was so hard pressed with three of them fighting outside Baltimore, it’s up to Razvan to give them a break…from tending to the sept’s namesake, the little howlers as Scully likes to call them.

And so, Spine-Render is obliged to spend two solid weeks there, away from home and the comfort of his bed (and his mate), the comradeship of his pack, his hands full of baby Metis…he’d have an easier time bottle feeding wolverine pups. Those aren’t born with Rage, and their claws and teeth aren’t as sharp. His intensive studies of modern medicine, even his time spent guarding the Brewery at all times of day and night — what could prepare him for the bloated, infantile Rage of a screaming, howling baby Crinos?

Stumbling, exhausted, back out of the Moon Bridge after surviving his challenge, Razvan may have a new impression of the Metis — and why so many tribes are repulsed by them. And the Fianna, even Tracker, may well have meant for him to learn, to understand this curse, in a way no calm, collected, mature Metis could ever really show him.

On the other hand, tending to the baby human his paramour will soon bring into the world may seem like no challenge at all, compared to those little Metis pups. He’s fought against spirits of sentient sewage! What’s a dirty diaper compared to that?

Third Confluence: Downtime!
 

Rank Challenges — Willow: Although True Silverheels seemed like the obvious choice — a renowned, heroic CoG warrior, leader of the warriors sent from the septs of New York! So handsome…however, our pack’s Theurge chooses to approach another Theurge: Guides-to-Truth, the lupus Theurge and pack leader of your new sept-mates, the Moon Dogs.

Driven by her desire to better understand the spirits and their realm, not to mention the disfiguring scars left behind after the pack’s desperate caern defense, Guides-to-Truth listens to Willow’s story, asks a few questions about her…and then simply challenges her to heal her scars. Find a way. Any way. But don’t come back until you’ve done it.

Scully might have researched obscure Gifts. Zero probably would’ve called his mage friends. Razvan…might not care. They’re scars! But Willow, taking direction from the pack’s totem Gordias, scoured the Umbral realms for a solution. Gordias told Willow of a spirit, the Simurgh, an entity of Griffin’s brood, but with ties to Chimera.

As a stereotypical, sphinx-like creature found in mountaintop caves, this seemed straightforward enough. Find the right mountain and climb it, and done! Willow was soon to learn how logic and reason do not necessarily apply in the Umbra. Over the course of a month or more, the pack’s alpha disappears for days, a week at a time, only to return, exhausted from another ill-fated aisling. Where had she been this time? The aetherial reaches? Pangaea? Wolfhome? Really, Wolfhome?

Willow’s travels led her astray many a time, although it was always interesting, and who knows what spirit allies she might be able to call on in the future. But after her last trek into the Umbra, trusting her lupine instincts — and Gordias’ guidance — our Theurge returned home to stay. And she came back, changed. The Wyrmish scarification? Gone. Erased, transformed perhaps.

And there was more. One of her eyes was changed. Traded, it seemed, for something that resembled a piece of agate. The Eye of the Simurgh. Was it the literal eye of the spirit? A fetish powered by it? Wasn’t the Simurgh unique, unwilling to be bound? You know, The Simurgh?

Third Confluence: Downtime!
 

Rank challenges — Zero: Although tempted to challenge the quixotic Stargazer, Antonine Teardrop, Zero goes to the Cyber Dogs — or, well, the one he knows, or at least thinks he knows, his anonymous contact Wintermute. Zero doesn’t want just a garden-variety challenge. He wants to make a name for himself with the Cyber Dogs. He just killed Stainless Steel, didn’t he? (well, with some assistance.)

Zero’s negotiations with Wintermute go on for some time. After all, how well do they know each other? Does Zero really have the best future in mind for the Cyber Dogs — and what about his contact, hiding behind layers of internet anonymity and encryption? Wintermute quizzes Zero’s opinions on the ethical uses of cybernetics, and then out of the blue gets to the real challenge.

A pack in Amsterdam needs support, the kind Zero is good at, in tracking down the source of reported ‘animal attacks,’ the kinds of things urrah often hear of when a Garou is on the loose and the Delirium is being triggered in the humans. Wintermute’s allies needed help with finding the cause, perhaps a lost cub or even a Cyber Dog. Not to mention evading the attention of human authorities — and the rest of the tribe.

Zero employs his cyberfetish’s remote access to the Computer Web, hunting down and guzzling from Amsterdam’s data clusters on behalf of his new friends/co-workers, a pack called the Troubleshooters. Concerned foremost with the success of the mission, Zero hacks into the city’s CCTV cameras, local news feeds and police reports, deftly covering the pack’s tracks with select alterations to the data.

Fortunately, the Troubleshooters find and secure their target, a bewildered and anxious teenaged girl, with ragged and torn clothing and blood under her fingernails. Zero guides the pack clear of the city, watching their backs for them for investigators and pursuers. With their success, Zero passes Wintermute’s test.

Unfortunately, he finds himself the target of a hack in the Computer Web. Zero’s internal OS Melchior informs him of the results, just after he pulls the plug on the Web. Download 3% Completed — Aborted. Was someone downloading his digitized memories? If killing Stainless Steel wasn’t a big enough splash…

Third Confluence: Downtime!
 

Rank challenges — Scully: After the pack’s heroism during the reclamation of the new sept, the Garou there celebrate Scully’s recklessness in the fight, and some name him “Baits-the-Wyrm”, or just “Bait” when they’re teasing him. The pack’s hapless Galliard puts the challenge to the new sept’s elder, Boris, the Arbiter of Storms, hoping to honor the new leader (or just ingratiate himself with the Arbiter). Razvan’s cousin chooses what sounds at first like a simple task: compose a song of praise for Brenna Deathsong, warrior Fianna from the Brewery and, often as not, one of the pack’s principal antagonists there.

Scully knows his pack has friends among the Grog Monsters. He visits Iron-Eyes and Mikhail at the Brewery, swapping stories with them of their packs’ exploits, and learns new details of the second raid on the Hive of Desolation. With his tribe’s gift for song and story, Scully writes a stirring ballad about the Grog Monsters’ pivotal role. Brenna’s brawl with the Hive’s surviving elder, the Ahroun Rends-in-Shadows, brings praise for her fearlessness. It took more than a dozen different Banes and Black Spirals to stop her. To hear Scully sing, it took an army of the Wyrm just to slow Brenna down.

The Garou assembled to hear Scully’s tale cheer Brenna and her heroism — but the warrior maiden just scowls, and refuses to accept the song performed in her honor. The packs of the Hidden Spring scoff at Brenna’s obstinance, and perhaps question the wisdom of the Arbiter’s task as beyond Scully’s power.

A moon passes before the humbled Scully dares to try again. Perhaps at Zero’s urging, he visits Antonine Teardrop for advice, and a new quest. Challenged to bring the story of the Fire-Fangs’ end to the Red Talon tribe without offending the feral lupus Garou, Scully is absent from the new sept for nearly another month, wandering across the northern United States and into Canada.

Scully returns with the reply from Tall Wolf, the elder of the Caldron Rock Sept in southeastern Washington State. Although it is too distant from the smaller, weaker caerns of Baltimore to establish a Moon Bridge, he does help to build a Bridge between Caldron Rock and the Hand of Gaia sept in central New York — proof that he met with the Red Talons, and at least earned the respect of some of them. It is said that the lupus-born tribe surpasses all others in the expressiveness and beauty of their howls, a skill that Scully would give much to have — and maybe he has.

After his challenges and his wandering are finished, Scully remains on friendly terms with most of the Brewery’s Garou and Kin. Although, some tongues may wag about the time he spends with Amargein’s widow, Molly Flanagan. An older Kinfolk lady in her thirties with three children, Sean, Megan and Kevin, Molly waxes nostalgic when Scully’s stories and songs remind her of her husband.

Third Confluence: Downtime!
tytalus

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