In our next guest-ST story, journey together to the farthest of the north to aid Long Runner, the Red Talons, and Mammoth! It will take Razvan’s skills in modern medicine, and Zero’s high tech expertise; no doubt there will be something useful for the others to do, too.
Zero certainly hasn’t forgotten the preserved mammoth blood samples they have, and the possibility of restoring the mammoth back to real-world life. In fact, he’s been looking for some new path away from the pure machinery of cybernetics, perhaps cutting edge biotechnology or something beyond? Perhaps this will lead him in the right direction…or give him more of a reason to look for one.
Don’t worry; Dave knows it can’t all be glorious runs in the woods in wolf form and smashing Wyrmthings and butt-sniffing. We all know Razvan’s been corrupted; the first thing he wanted after the Legendary Realm was a hot shower and a hamburger. You’re not fooling anybody, Spine-Render!
After a respite of several months, where we tend to local affairs, the call to adventure once again sounds. Our old friend, the Red Talon Theurge Long-Runner, has once again literally run across much of North America to visit us, bearing grim news…the sacred Tomb of Mammoth has been discovered and possibly despoiled by the humans! He asks our help in righting this great wrong, and perhaps more…is there a chance to bring Mammoth back? Perhaps we’ll get to answer this question. But first, a cyber-war by Zero, who managed to defeat aggressive anti-hacking by what he thinks is a leech, a ’Nosferatu" in service to a great lord of their kind, Baba Yaga, who appears to exert tremendous power behind the scenes in the WoD Russia. Stamping out any hope for the Russian Garou appears to be on their list of things to do. Not that surprising, considering we remain, despite our falling numbers, a significant threat to the leeches.
Zero manages to infiltrate top secret leech/Russian special forces servers, snagging several pertinent files. The files do indeed reveal a large cave, hidden in the mountains of Wrangel Island, where Mammoth made its Final Stand and its kind breathed their last, dying out a mere 3600 years ago, much later than thought, due to the sheer remoteness of the location and suitable climate. Russian scientists, with a small squad of military (Zero can identify them from their markings, with a bit of work, as Spetsnaz, their elite troops – a small squad of 4 of them, and a team of three scientists are visible in the video. They are seen in a cave, with various bits and partial bodies of mammoths in view. The corpses seem amazingly well preserved. The pack can see how Long-Runner obtained his artifacts and mammoth blood, still fresh. While some have the red-brown fur we’ve seen in movies and documentaries, many have a frost white fur that shimmers in the low-light of the cave and limited lighting provided by the humans, who are seen eagerly recording the find. After a bit of time, one scientist notices a few huge plates of shale, they seem too regular to be random…they look like some sort of lid or cover. With the help of the soldiers, they manage to move one slab aside, revealing a deep, dug pit. A primeval coffin. Within it, a completely whole mammoth lies, with the same shimmering frost white fur as some of the partial bodies. They examine it excitedly, amazed at how well preserved it is…perhaps too much so…its…still warm? Though it does not seem to stir or even breathe, the scientists shout to one another, making record of this amazing find. It’s limbs and trunk are still supple, astounding the scientists.
The camera pans over the body of the mammoth, and as it reaches the belly, still partially hidden from view, a polar bear is discovered. What’s this? The scientists stop and wonder, but one soon steps up, poking at the bear with a ski-pole. The bear’s eyes snap open! It glares about with fierce pale blue eyes, shoving aside another shale plate as it rises up with a great roar! Despite that it’s in a deep pit, it still towers over the humans. It appears rather manlike in body shape, with a human-style shoulder joint, chest, and surprisingly manlike hands, tipped with gigantic talons. It uses these talons to make short work of the scientists and soldiers alike, roaring in Rage as it lashes back and forth. We see one strike cut a Spetsnaz clean in half!. The remaining soldiers recover quickly, raising their guns, and pepper the creature with bullets. But, these seem to have little effect, the bear Rages among the humans. It quickly reducing them to pulp. Though it does bleed from their shots it does not seem to be very weakened by them, much like ourselves. The last thing we see is it pondering the wreckage, and the camera. The video goes black as we see the creature look at the camera, a paw raised and then coming down…
Although we’ve never seen one, we can recognize a fellow shape shifter. This bear must be a Gurahl, which Long-Runner confirms, stating they, too, protect the Tomb of Mammoth, who they also honor.
Mila’s caern responds to the call, establishing a very rare Moon Bridge between a Red Talon caern and a homid caern, with some assistance from our pack, Willow in particular, to open the bridge. We return to our various homes and prepare for the journey, Raz bringing his EMT kit, perhaps modified for potential surgery on a mammoth. He also pays a quick visit to the embassy, drawing on his family’s funds with MIla’s ok, taking a sizable stack of rubles and a few gold coins (of Chinese origin, where you can buy ingots of gold freely). We’ll need some cash, he thinks, if we have to deal with any humans. Packing his sword, dedicated body armor, and Bloody Bandages as well as his EMT/doctor back pack, Raz is ready to go. The others also prepare, and soon enough we return to the caern and join Long-Runner in a quick trip first to his current home caern, which both Raz and Scully have visited. Just prior to our run, Long-Runner inscribes two runes upon us, one on each shoulder, then on himself. Using a mix of ocher and mammoth blood, he scribes runes for Griffin and Quest on all of us. We don’t stay here long, just long enough to meet and greet, and to have a run across another Moon Bridge to a Red Talon caern in eastern Siberia. The sacred runes Long-Runner painted on us do their work. As a Red Talon only caern, we would normally have been greeted with immediate challenge and likely attack, but this time…free passage.
A great elder of the Red Talons, Tundra- Runner, greets us himself, making sure any young bucks looking to challenge us won’t dare it. It’s a peaceful meet and greet, and we pick up another traveling companion, the Silent Strider lupus who met and taught Long-Runner his various traveling gifts. She’s on the old side for a lupus, going by the name of Hotah. Willow takes a bit of interest in Hotah, perhaps this is a chance for her, and us, to learn more about the Striders? Hotah does offer to teach us a gift of fast travel, and begins instruction as we make our way to the coast, preparing us for the spirit teacher She will soon bring to instruct us further. In two days time, we find ourselves on the bleak Silberian coast, where winter never really leaves. A successful duck hunt and berry gathering allows Willow to make a few kilos of good pemmican, food for our journey. Hotah warns us that after a long-run, you must feast and rest, or be greatly weakened for a few days. Speaking of days, here they are practically 24 hours, the sun doesn’t quite dip below the horizon during the “night.” here at the peak of the short, cold summer. It’ll be colder still on Wrangel Island. We now know why the squad sent by Baba Yaga consisted of a pack of BSD and 2 dozen Spetsnaz, but no leeches. There is no proper night this time of year for them, only the light of the sun.
We scout out the little town, from it’s size it holds a couple hundred humans at best. From his research prior to our leaving, Zero knows this town has an American name, Billings. It’s the only town that runs several little (less than 30 people/trip) tours to Wrangel island a year during the summer months. In fact, we spy a modified fishing boat, with English writing on it, advertising the eco-tour. As Zero curses our luck at once again spending our time racing about the most wild of places, he spies a mushroom shaped device among the communication gear on the upper deck…an Iridium Pilot, one of the only means, this far north likely the only, means to provide wifi!
Other things we note about the town, are a number of windmills to provide power, no lack of wind here from our experience thus far. The homes seem better kept than one might expect for this wasteland, perhaps due to the small tourist input? A couple thousand Euros/USD would probably go a very long way here. Maybe a couple of the people speak English? Feeling a little more hopeful about making our way to and from Wrangel, we (minus Hotah and Long-Runner, who remain in lupus hiding on the outskirts of town)) walk into the little town, to inquire about passage…