Being a game sent in World of Darkness: Denver with four werewolves and a vampire. By Wormshadow.
- Sean Pickering – Iron Master, Elodoth.
- Jessie Pickering – Bone Shadow, Ithauer
- Monty Smith – Storm Lord, Rahu.
- Sandford Pickering (Erasmus Windar) – Iron Master, Cahalith
- Hubert Buck – Mekhet, Ordo Dracul.
- The Guardian of the Ninth Gate – Hubert’s mysterious spirit guide, resembling a flayed angel with wings of flesh
- The Mysterious White Noise Spirit at the TV Shop – this spirit was associated with mysteries, information and it was hard to get any information out of it, including its name.
- The Pathfinder of the Hidden Ways – the pack’s totem spirit, a magath formed from the combination of the Guardian of the Ninth Gate and the Mysterious White Noise Spirit at the TV Shop.
- The Magpie that Nests in the High Cornices – a minor spirit of information.
- Crushing Force of Death – the death train spirit that the pack defeated in a spirit hunt.
- Lilah Augustri, Hubert’s deranged, slavish hand-me-down ghoul.
- Clayton Pickering, another Pickering relative – maintains the Pickering game forest estate. Wants badly to become Uratha, but it hasn’t happened yet.
- Willard Pickering, the funeral home’s salesman and Sean and Jessie’s uncle. An affable, ‘proud to be American’
- Johnny K – Monty’s university friend, a spaced-out pot-head and dope-dealer.
- Baldaive Daliwhal – another of Monty’s university friends, keen statistics students and does assignments for the desperate when paid in cold, hard cash.
The Beginning of the PackEdit
It all started off when the geeky but handsome academic, Erasmus Windar, went to a nightclub on a fancy dress night, wearing a gorilla suit. In the men’s toilets, he had a black-out. When he snapped awake, his gorilla suit was shredded and there were bodies everywhere, as though a strange blender had splashed blood and body parts all over the room. He got questioned by the police, went back to his flat, and discovered that there was a body in his bathtub. And that he may have put it there. And that he was actually a werewolf but had repressed the memories. And that this would be hard to explain to the police. And so, Erasmus fled from LA to Denver, being chased from one territory to the next.
In Denver, Erasmus bumped into Clayton Pickering, a Wolf-Blooded who managed the game forest for the Pickering Uratha. Clayton was desperate to have the First Change himself, to gain rank in the sprawling, werewolf family and raise himself out of the ranks of the second-class, non-Uratha members. Clayton identified Erasmus as a Ghost Wolf using a special fetish, and then took him to the Pickering estate, near Colorado Springs.
Meanwhile, Sean and Jessie Pickering were escaping yet another uncomfortable Pickering family dinner, filled with awkward conversation and long silences. Sean was an embalmer by trade and ran the Pickering Family Funeral Home in Denver’s run-down Cherry Tree Creek district. Jessie had been a teenage medical genius, now in her twenties, who idled away her life working weird shifts the city morgue. She’d been sent to Denver by her father, Mal Pickering, after her inadvertent First Change had afflicted her mother with Lunacy and kept her confined to a sanatorium. Sean and Jessie quickly claimed custody of Erasmus from Clayton, and spirited the confused Ghost Wolf away to Denver.
Sean and Jessie explained werewolf culture and tribes to Erasmus. Erasmus met the lead packs in Denver and decided to join the Iron Masters, as their technological/adaptive philosophy appealed to him. And so Erasmus, Sean and Jessie made a pack, although the good-looking Sean was upset to discover that the even-better-looking Erasmus was now ‘the most beautiful man in the pack’. However, Sean rejoiced in the fact he had his own pack, and was now independent from his abusive foster-father and family patriarch, Obadiah Pickering.
When Sean formed the pack, he duly announced it to Janet, who seemed surprised and pleased in a condescending fashion about her adopted little brother’s efforts.
The nascent pack needed a locus. They made a deal with a minor-league information spirit – the Magpie that Nests Amongst the High Cornices to find one. The Magpie wanted a shiny necklace from a particular human that walked through Cheesman Park in the mornings. Sean met the woman and was able to persuade her to sell him the necklace. (There was something strange about the woman, Miranda – the pack did a reading on her and discovered that she had a distant longing for sunlight, and worked for a man who dreamed of the same). Sean traded the necklace to the magpie and in turn, was directed to a locus in run-down Brantford Street, at an abandoned TV repair junk shop. A powerful information spirit inhabited the area, dubbed ‘the Mysterious White Noise Spirit’ by the pack because it only communicated cryptically through enigmatic images revealed in white noise television static. Sean paid homage to the spirit, and struck a protection deal with it in exchange for letting the pack claim the locus.
Janet Pickering, the family matriarch (Obadiah’s daughter) in charge of the Pickering Family Funeral Home chain, sent scrawny, Wolf-Blooded, failing medical student Montague Smith (a Pickering on his mother’s side), to ‘help out’ Sean’s business and to hopefully catch Jessie’s attention, so that she could think about producing even more Pickerings to flesh out the werewolf dynasty. Jessie didn’t even consider Monty – he was far too skinny for her tastes.
Erasmus changed his name to Sandford Pickering, assuming the identity of a deceased Pickering family member to avoid the murder charge hanging over his head from his LA days. He was a bit suspicious that the Pickerings had a spare identity lying around, but couldn’t find anything sinister about the deceased Sandford Pickering that he was replacing, apart from a few minor B&E charges. Sandford still got annoyed when the pack kept making jokes about his previous name, and about his ‘killer status’. How dare they? What if someone were watching?
Sean and Jessie’s uncle, Willard Pickering showed up on their doorstop one evening. Willard was a tall, balding man – he’d just returned from New York after his detective business had collapsed and he had been forced to ask Janet for work. Janet had kindly shuffled Willard off to Sean’s branch of the Pickering Family Funeral Home empire. Willard had a weak strain of the wolf-blood that manifested in his drive to hunt down new and interesting sales for the home. Jessie noticed strange, recent abrasions over Willard’s body, but Willard refused to submit to a medical examination and Jessie let the matter lie. Eventually, Willard settled into his role as the funeral home’s top salesman, joining up with a local ‘good ole boy’ community groups.
Enter the VampireEdit
Things went strange when a deranged woman called Lilah Augustri contacted the funeral home, arranging for her father’s burial. She wanted to be utterly sure that he was dead. Sean politely stabbed the corpse for Lilah’s sake. Satisfied her ‘father’ was dead, Lilah urged the Sean to dispose of the body quickly. However, before this could take place, a mysterious man called Hubert Buck arrived, somewhat pale-featured and who looked like he’d just stepped out of a timewarp from the 1970s. Lilah instantly became slavish towards him, losing all evidence of the free will she had displayed before. Hubert apologised to the pack for Lilah’s behaviour, obtained some blood from the corpse, and left with Lilah in tow. The pack thought that they would never see Hubert again.
However, this didn’t last very long. Obadiah Pickering used his patriarchal clout to make Sean fulfill some ancient pact with other supernatural elements within Denver, without explaining the rationale or historical context behind anything. In short, Sean would have to adopt a vampire into the pack. And this would be Hubert. The pack completed a bizarre bonding ritual when they slew a strange spirit-beast hybrid in a ruined church. Hubert was allowed to ‘keep’ the deranged Lilah as his ghoul (his ‘masters’ didn’t really care what he did with her) and so she moved into her new liege lord’s apartment.
Lilah seemed totally out of touch with the modern century, remembering a time ‘before the wires filled the sky’. Hubert happily showed her the wonders of modern appliances and his collection of 1970s movies. Lilah remained pathetic, but devoted to her new lord, but often suggested that Hubert was worthy of a more stately environment than his apartment with its cheap, plastic furnishings.
Janet’s hope that Monty would catch Jessie’s eye and produce more Pickerings failed when Monty violently underwent the First Change during a full moon. The pack tracked Monty down to Fort Assumption, a strange ‘hollow place’ in the spirit realm. The Uratha noted that Hubert was accompanied in the spirit world by a strange spirit called the Guardian of the Ninth Gate; resembling a blind, flayed angel with wings of flesh. The Guardian acted as Hubert’s spirit guide, dragging him across loci. (Unfortunately, while the Guardian could drag Hubert across, it was unable to extend its powers to cover his possessions, and the rather unattractive sight of nude Hubert become an unfortunate occurrence on future trips into the Shadow). Fort Assumption was a strange, shifting ghost-town like environment, filled with strange cries. Dark spirits that resembled coyotes with burning eyes hunted down anyone who tried to leave. But the pack prevailed, managing to retrieve Monty from the bizarre hollow place, dragging him from the bottom of a strange silver mine.
A few other weird things happened in Fort Assumption. Sandford met a strange spirit voice that welcomed him as ‘one of the Pure’ and wanted to know why he was hanging around with these strange ‘Forsaken’. Sandford didn’t know what that meant, but decided to leave before the spirit voice could call ‘the others’. Meanwhile, Jessie met a ghost that wanted its bones buried in the Pickering family graveyard, as it claimed it had once loved one of the ancestral Pickerings, but had been wrongfully executed for her rape. Jesse took the ghost’s bones back with her, promising to bury them in the Pickering family graveyard. However, the Guardian of the Threshold refused to let her bury the bones in the graveyard without Obadiah’s permission. Jesse retreated, and found that all death-spirits were now negatively disposed towards her and tried to attack her on-sight as soon as she crossed into the Shadow.
It was later discovered that Hubert’s odd spirit guide had ‘dedicated’ the locus the pack had used to cross over (belonging to the New Hope pack) and Jessie was forced to use all of her talents in the months to come to cleanse the locus of the weird death essence. Hubert persuaded his guardian not to be so devout about dedicating such loci in future.
Sandford had discovered that severed thumbs were turning up in geo-caches around Denver. Strangely, they all appeared to be the same thumb. After failing to convince the pack about the wonders of his geo-caching hobby, Sandford persuaded the pack to investigate the thumb weirdness. However, during the hunt weird things happened – severed thumbs started to appear around the funeral home, and Sandford found a cache that kept bleeding continuously (although Hubert declared that it wasn’t ‘real’ blood and not fit to be consumed by any self respecting vampire). The pack discovered that the troubles were being caused by spirit of obsessive finding that had grown fat on eating the weaker, obsessive spirits that hung around geo-cachers. The spirit had gotten strong and cocky enough to Claim a geo-cacher as a host. The Claimed’s last human memories had been about trying to open its car with it biometric thumb-print reader, and this obsession had carried over into the new, hybrid being.
After some investigation (and Hubert having a few dead-end adventures in the police car lot) the pack tracked the Claimed down to a run-down apartment block. “I’m still human,” a voice whispered through the cracked door. “Barely. But I need help... You have to find something for me first....”
The pack debated about whether to kick the door down and attack the spirit, or do what it wanted and try to help it by finding what it was after. Sandford rightly guessed that going on the ‘finding’ mission would just make the spirit stronger. The pack kicked down the door, and did battle with the monstrous spirit-claimed on the other side, a thing that resembled a wet, sucking mass of thumbs fused together. After a short, furious battle, the Claimed tried to retreat through a nearby locus. The pack crossed over into the Shadow, and finished off the creature there. Now, they had a second (albeit rather small) locus on their territory! However, Sandford was still unable to get anyone interested in further geo-caching exploits.
The pack needed a totem. Sean was quite keen on the Mysterious White Noise Spirit in the junk TV shop, but Hubert’s ‘special friend’ was another problem, resembling a peeled angel who was convinced that the Uratha should bow to her, and then perhaps she would graciously serve as their patron. The Mysterious White Noise Spirit was quite interested in the mysteries represented by Hubert’s guardian spirit – especially about a strange place in the Shadow where she came from called ‘the Birthplace’. After long hours of negotiation and arguing, the two spirits agreed to merge to form a bizarre magath hybrid: the Pathfinder of the Hidden Ways, resembling a barbed dragonfly with a the glare of a thousand hissing white noise television screens in its multi-faceted compound eyes.
It's in the BloodEdit
It wasn’t the easiest to have a vampire in the pack, despite the strange pact that the arrangement was supposed to be honouring. Tempers flared and Hubert got chewed on a few times by Sean in his various lupine forms. And due to some weird quirk of Hubert’s blood, Sean found the taste rather enticing. He found his feelings for the Miami Vice-obsessed vampire changing. Could this be love? He stopped clubbing; other men had no place in his heart now. There was only Hubert. Meanwhile, Hubert happily exploited the situation, and used his new power of Sean to create his own arrangements within the pack.
Meanwhile, Sandford was horrified to think that Hubert murdered someone every time the vampire fed. (Hubert had been rather vague on his ‘feeding arrangements’.) And so, out of humanitarian concerns, he generously offered his own blood to be used by the vampire. Hubert found that werewolf blood was like a potent hit of heroin. It was good, powerful, but weakened his self-control. This led to usual occurrences of Hubert going into an easily-restrained, feeble frenzy, or being distracted by spilled gouts of blood that he had to lap up. This in turn filtered down to Lilah (sustained as she was by Hubert’s blood) and she became more angry and self-determined. Hubert found this interesting, but didn’t place much credence on it.
Much intense, blood-sucking weirdness between Hubert/Sandford and Hubert/Sean ensued. “Would you guys stop it with that Anne Rice shit?” Monty would snap.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t to last...
Hunting the Death TrainEdit
As a newly-changed Uratha, Monty wanted to join the Storm Lords. Unfortunately, he didn’t impress the Colorado Springs-based group all that much, barely passing his initiation, much like his medical science results at university. His ‘mentor pack’ was the violent, gun-toting Black Moon Extreme, who escorted Monty back to Denver (“You’re our pledge, bitch...”) with a rather hair-raising experience. Monty had promised that he would become pack leader and lead a spirit hunt, something that he hadn’t yet discussed with the rest of the pack. And so, after some consideration, Jessie and Sean arranged a Rite of the Spirit Hunt for the newly forged pack to complete.
But when the spirit was summoned for the hunt, a spirit of death answered, far more powerful than it had any right to be, resembling a blood-splattered train. The spirit was Crushing Force of Death, who wanted the pack to re-establish Brantford Station, which had been discarded and built over in the 1970s. A bargain was struck and the hunt was on!
Jesse mediated and discovered the spirit’s ban, which was that smearing blood on its headlamp would weaken it. Eventually, she worked out how to make ‘blood bomb’ talens – stealing some blood from work, she put it into plastic bags. In the battle in the Shadow, Sean flung the blood against the train’s headlamp, weakening it. After a ferocious battle, the pack defeated Crushing Force of Death and drank its essence. Monty became the nominal (or rather token) leader of the pack. A watching crow spirit had observed Monty’s behaviour during the battle and found the young Rahu as worthy (barely) of becoming a Storm Lord.
Family Ties: Relations with the Pickering FamilyEdit
The Pickering members of the pack had certain familial duties with their elders – to attend the regular family dinners and so forth. A few more events with the Pickering family ‘royalty’ occurred that were of note.
Ezekiel was a Scottish Uratha engaged to Obadiah’s favourite daughter, Lillian. Lillian was heavily pregnant, but refused to leave her father, even though Ezekiel was desperate to get her away. Her entire behaviour had changed when they had returned. Every time the pack visited to the crumbling mansion, things seemed to be getting worse for Ezekiel – Lillian was growing more distant from him, spending more time with Obadiah in the crypts below the graveyard. The final time that the pack encountered Ezekiel, he’d was distant. His appearance was neglected, and he shambled around the Pickering property vacantly. Janet explained that Ezekiel had agreed to some sort of bargain with Obadiah, in order to be closer to his wife. “It’s almost like he’s Claimed,” Janet mused, but as far as Jessie, the pack’s Ithaeur knew, Uratha couldn’t be Claimed by spirits... or could they?
And when Jessie went into the mansion one day, finding it deserted, she found herself called by a mirror in Janet’s bedroom, of an older, imperious woman. The woman said that she was Jessie’s grandmother, and that she’d been trapped in the mirror by Obadiah’s spirit magic. She told Jessie that Obadiah was busy with something deep below the property, and that if Jessie were to return alone again, she would kill her.
The Denver Historical SocietyEdit
Strange invitations had been sent to the Pickering Family Funeral Home – elegantly written in copperplate handwriting on crisp, pressed paper. These invitations were to attend a meeting of the Denver Historical Society. Sandford checked on the internet, but found only a cursory website for the organsiation. Sean hid the invitations that he could find; his and Monty’s. In the end only Hubert and Jessie decided to go visit the mysterious group. Sandford didn’t trust the Society’s invitations at all, and refused to go, muttering about ‘vampires’ in a paranoid fashion.
Hubert and Jessie arrived as the invitation specified, in formal dress, and discovered that that the Denver Historical Society was really.... a historical society! It was run by a Mr Mercier, who’s pallid appearance suggested his vampiric state. But he was quite the gentleman, and introduced Hubert and Jessie to the group of historians who met monthly in order to discuss historical research. Hubert noted that not everyone amongst the assembled historians appeared to be a vampire – he detected a few mortal auras and vibrant Uratha ones with his Auspex powers. Curious.
Mr Mercier invited Hubert and Jessie to join the Society by submitting a thesis. He expressed regret that the other members of their pack had been unable to attend. Jessie and Hubert looked at each other, surprised, as they hadn’t been aware of an invitation going out to everyone. Mr Mercier showed Hubert a sepia portrait of a man he called ‘Mr Emmanuel Buck’. Hubert noticed that Emmanuel had that sharp-faced Pickering family look. Was this Emmanuel really his sire? What more secrets had the Esoteric Order of the Illuminated Dragons been keeping from him?
Mr Mercier also pointed out a massive sword-sword, styled like a Roman gladius but made out of a silver alloy, carved with runes in the First Tongue. Jessie sensed the powerful hatred of the weapon’s spirit. Mr Mercier said the weapon was waiting for its ‘master’ to return, and extended the invitation for any of Jessie’s friends to try and claim it, with the caveat that claiming the klaive would involve trying to master a powerful spirit. Jessie declined, and Hubert and Jessie bid the historical society farewell.
Jessie accused Sean of hiding the group’s invitations, but Sean with his usual chicanery managed to persuade her that it had been for their own good.
The Pickering CurseEdit
Morrison Pickering (Sean’s brother and Jessie’s cousin) came Sean for help – he’d just undergone the First Change, and that meant that he was next in line for the family curse which killed all direct male Uratha descendants of Obadiah before they turned 21. Morrison became dissolute and depressed, wanting to drown himself in drink and pleasures of the flesh before he died. Sean promised to watch over him and do everything he could to help him. Sean hated the family curse – his first real love had been Octavian Pickering, who’d taught the adopted Sean the art of embalming, before being fatally destroyed by the curse. (Sean’s affections for Octavian had never been expressed, except for in the exquisite craft in which Sean had restored Octavian’s mangled corpse back to the appearance of full health before his burial).
But then, something happened. Whatever unique, alchemical quirk that enabled Hubert’s blood to bond werewolves... it didn’t quite act the same as when used on vampires. The major difference was that it wore off far more quickly. (Hubert had a vague awareness that he was some sort of ‘experiment’ by the Esoteric Order of the Illuminated Dragons – perhaps this was something to do with it? Of course, he wasn’t really an experiment. He was a special and privileged member of the Dragons. Really....) And so, one lunar month after the Hubert/Sean blood bond was created, it broke. Sean was distraught, forgetting his promise to watch over Morrison. It had all been a lie! It was fake! Hubert didn’t really love him! The vampire had been using him! Sean fled out to gain solace in Denver’s gay scene.
On that night, Morrison came back, half-drunk and demanding to know where Sean was. None of the other pack members knew. They were too busy dealing with a weird burial – Willard had got them a dodgey contract to perform a burial for a bunch of cultists buried in a mass grave in north-eastern Colorado. Jessie kept seeing strange, ghostly faces in the mirrors around the funeral home, and feel cold patches here and there. It seemed the bones had been mixed up. She need help to deal with this.
But Morrison was insistent. He had to talk to Sean. Pissed off by Jessie’s attempts to placate him, Morrison flew into a frenzied Gauru rage. Jessie and Monty wolfed out and managed to bring Morrison down after a quick and bloody fight. Jessie tended to the near-dead Pickering and carefully put him to bed, trusting in his Uratha healing factor to save him. “Obadiah,” Morrison whispered. “He’s behind it all...” And so Jessie made a vow to kill the Pickering family patriarch.
Then, Jessie left with Monty and Sandford to find Sean.
Hubert, alone in the funeral home, went in to check on Morrison. He’d been a doctor in life, and some of the instincts remained. He gently sponged the patient down. The warm scent of flesh was enticing. Losing control, Hubert gently suckled some of Morrison’s invigorating werewolf blood, and then more, and then some more...
When Hubert at last managed to regain control of himself, Morrison wasn’t breathing. Hubert quickly tended to the body, arranging things so it would look like Morrison had simply passed away of his wounds. He hoped no one would notice.
Jesse, Monty and Sandford looked around for signs of Sean and eventually got in mental contact with him via the Pathfinder of the Hidden Way’s telepathic partyline. Sean refused to see anyone, but Monty, Sandford and Jesse worked out where he was and went off to see him.
Sandford lurked outside the gay nightclub, not wanting to go in. It made him uncomfortable, stirring his rage. It reminded him of something that he desperately wanted to forget. Sandford walked up and down the street angrily. He thought that there was someone following him. Eventually, Monty and Jessie returned, unable to persuade Sean to return. They collected Sandford before his rage consumed him, went back to the funeral home and discovered that Morrison was dead.
Jesse used her Death Sight and noticed that Morrison had died peacefully in sleep, and assumed it had been of natural causes. Sean returned, and was furiously angry that the person he had vowed to protect, who he’d left in the care of his pack, was dead.
Perhaps retaining a touch of his lost humanity, Hubert confessed to draining Morrison.
And then Jessie confessed to vowing to kill Obadiah
Sean, pissed off that his pack had betrayed his trust and had deathly thoughts against the man who’d raised him, drove off into the night. The pack worried that Sean had gone to dob them into Obadiah and started to prepare for war. Jessie started to research suicide bombing tactics and technology.
But Sean hadn’t gone to the Pickering mansion. Instead, he Sean went on a spirit quest in the spirit wilds of the Shadow, barely surviving the strange and hostile landscape, accompanied by the Pathfinder of the Hidden Ways. The pack’s totem mentioned that it longed for the Birthplace, where the strange flesh-angel spirits that served the vampires came from. Sean decided to follow the Pathfinder there, and then things went fuzzy. Sean remembered talking with a strange voice that said that he had been ‘prepared as a vessel’ all of his life and this was ‘considered an honour’. Sean wanted to get out of this destiny, and the voice offered to free him , saying that it would ‘bring the blood high’ from a different part of his ancestry instead. Sean agreed... and then found himself back in the physical world. Going to a bathroom, he discovered that he resembled one of the lost Anasazi/pueblo-dwellers. Hmm. New outfits would be required.
Sean returned to the Pickering Family Funeral Home in his new guise. The pack was puzzled at first, but were eventually convinced that the stranger was actually Sean. Willard discovered Sean down in the preparation area, working on a body, and made a few disparaging comments about Mexicans. Sean rolled his eyes and gave the name ‘Julio’. He told the pack he’d stay for as long as he could in order to work things out, to see if there was anything of their pack bonds to salvage.
Sean was the only available Pickering with the skill to embalm Morrison. He returned to the crumbling family home, and did his job, enjoying Janet’s puzzled looks over his new appearance. While Sean was there, Obadiah called a family gathering. The patriarch denounced the tragedy, while stroking Lillian’s rotund stomach. “The child will be born who will save us all,” he crooned, while Ezekiel watched on with vacant eyes.
The Eagle RockEdit
Hubert got a call – Sandford had been found half-dead, and was at a nearby hospital. Part of Sandford’s skull had been bashed in. Hubert used to contacts to hide the miracle of Sandford’s regeneration in the medical records and took Sandford back to the funeral home. Sandford vaguely remembered being in the spirit world, but had no concrete memories of what had actually happened. He actually gone out to try and find other vampires, to learn more about them without asking Hubert. He remembered talking with a woman in dark sunglasses. Hubert thought that Sandford’s wounds suggested that he’d been clawed from behind.
Desperate for essence, Jessie conducted the Rite of the Spirit Hunt with a golden eagle spirit. Unfortunately she agreed to care for golden eagle chicks for six months, rescuing them from the iron cages. After a successful hunt, Jessie and Sandford tried to work out how to fulfill their various spirit bargains – one to re-establish Brantford Station for Crushing Force of Death and the other to raid the Denver Zoo to release the golden eagles in captivity there back to the wild. Hubert suggested using his ghost-hunting contacts to seed the rumours of a death train, and they also came up with the idea of setting up a goth nightclub called ‘Brantford Station’ that would expound the urban legend of a of deathly locomotive. Jessie used her contacts in the Cold Lake Territories werewolf community to find out how hard it would be to steal the eagle chicks from the zoo and raise them herself in the wild. After discussing the situation with Greets-the-Sunrise of the Mountain’s Proud Children pack, Jessie was persuaded to spend some time working with a volunteer wildlife shelter on a program to release gold eagles back into Rockies National Park rather than raiding the Denver Zoo.
Meanwhile, Jessie’s sister, Justine Pickering, arrived from San Fransisco. She was a voodoo priestess, and skilled in the arts of speaking with the dead. Justine helped Jessie sort out the bones, and said it would be hard to get the ghostly cultists to ‘move on’. Something was keeping them anchored to the material world. Jessie persuaded Justine to summon Morrison Pickering’s ghost. After setting up a complicated ritual, Justine summoned Morrison. He appeared in his savage Gauru form, materialised, and immediately attacked Sandford, claiming that he was ‘the enemy!’.
“He’s insane!” Sandford declared. After a savage battle, Justine managed to get Morrison under control. Justine determined that Morrison’s ghost, and the departed spirit of every other Pickering, was kept in check by a powerful, deathly force, linked with the secret Pickering initiation and baptism ceremonies. Justine dismissed Morrison. Jessie was now more than ever determined to kill Obadiah. Justine bid her sister farewell – she was going to visit her mother’s family, the DuBois in New Orleans, as she’d been having dark, prophetic visions about them of late that she was unable to shake off.
The Actualysis FoundationEdit
Monty woke up, his head pounding in a white hospital like environment. The last thing he remembered was being at a nightclub with his party friend and weed-supplier, Johnny K. It seems they’d gotten smashed, collapsed on the streets and then had been picked up by some enthused religious cult who ‘just wanted to help’. They called themselves the Actualysis Foundation, and helped people by freeing them on their fear, ‘actualysing’ them so that they could be made free. Monty watched a few of their inspirational videos, resisting the urge to flip out in Gauru form and smash the place up. Monty attended an interview with one of the Foundation’s leaders, and grunted his way through the meeting. He felt like there was something digging into his head. Monty took the Foundation’s bus back to Denver with Johnny K, who kept muttering ‘Wow. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’ve really found something greater than myself.”
Monty talked Johnny out of his worrying new faith, and went back to Johnny’s place to smoke some weed. After returning to the funeral home, Monty discovered Jessie trying to work out how to kill Obadiah. Monty suggested contacting his mentor pack, Black Moon Extreme, for armaments and went around to Johnny’s place again to borrow his ‘supplies’ to trade with BMX. Monty found that Johnny was throwing out all of his stuff. “I don’t need that any more,” Johnny K said, as though he was planning to leave his old life behind and do something extremely radical or extremely stupid, which were both in character for him.
Shrugging, Monty grabbed all of Johnny’s stocks and a few interesting CDs, and returned to the funeral home. Johnny was welcome to his new friends.
Hubert, Jessie and Monty met with BMX. Sandford went back to his flat, and Sean remained out of the way but close by. Monty carefully laced some beers with downers in an attempt to calm the excitable pack of Storm Lords down. And then BMX rocked up in their van. “Pledgie!” they cried, whacking Monty on the back. “What do you have for us?” There were five werewolves in the BMX – Moriarty, the alpha, in his leather jacket and dark sunglasses; Buzz, the twitchy information expert with her shaved head and leathers; Firewalker, a passionate, red-haired Cahalith; Gibson, the explosives export; and Solo, the suave-looking battle-hungry band member.
Monty was about to show off the drugs and cash and talk about armaments, when one of Buzz’s vampire detection fetishes went off. It didn’t take them long to work out that Hubert, the pale looking fellow on the couch, was a vampire.
Monty had forgotten to tell his pack that BMX’s main activity was vampire hunting. And the Pickering pack included Hubert.
Suddenly, Firewalker lost control and went into Death Rage.
The next the Monty was aware of was that Hubert was frantically running up the stairs of the funeral home away from Firewalker’s Gauru form. Monty shifted into his own Gauru form and savaged Moriarty, figuring if he could take BMX’s alpha down, the rest of the Storm Lord pack would soon follow. Moriarty calmly unloaded a full clip into Monty, tossed his gun away, and then locked with Monty in a vicious Gauru-on-Gauru form battle.
Solo leaped on Monty’s back to defend his alpha. Gibson and Buzz held back. Sean used his persuasive talents on Buzz, to get her to calm Moriarty down. But it was too late – by the time Moriarty and Solo backed down, Monty was a dead, bloody mess.
In panic, Sandford called the police.
Everyone run upstairs to see that Firewalker was just about to take Hubert down. Moriarty got him to back off, and Hubert collapsed to the ground, in torpor.
BMX quickly retreated from the blood-splashed living room, leaping back into their black SUV and yelling out to Sean that they owed him ‘a favour’.
The cops arrived, but thanks to Sean’s quick clean-up job and smooth-talking skills, convinced them the neighbor-reported gunshots were due to an ‘accidental discharge’. Sean was asked if he had the right papers, but also won them over with his red-blooded American cultural knowledge, despite his new South American-ish appearance.
The End of the PackEdit
The pack decided to disband after this. With Monty, the ‘alpha’ gone, there was really nothing holding them together. The Pathfinder of the Hidden Ways was displeased with the pack’s lack of ‘community, anyway. No one was keen to revive Hubert. Sean packed the vampire into one of the funeral home’s corpse lockers.
After Monty’s funeral, Jessie made plans for an extended stay on Sakender Isi to learn about golden eagle rehabilitation with Greets-the-Sunrise, and Sean thought about going away again, to find out more about the man he had become.
Meanwhile, Sandford later retrieved the torpored vampire and returned him to his ghoul, Lilah. He saw that Lilah had been watching some videos from some religious group, the Actualysis Foundation, but didn’t pay it much attention. There were certain things that he had to take care of...