Our Pack wakes up, greeted by Father Pisses-Gold‘s son, a kinfolk named “Connie” Conrad Pearce. Connie doesn’t seem too bright, has trouble understanding everything asked of him, but is still embraced by most of the pack as a brother in arms.
Ludwig Rages-Truth broods up in his room, still thinking on the duel that is coming later in the day.
Screwdriver, on the other hand, tells Connie to bring his breakfast up. He doesn’t want to go out of where he sleeps, the bathroom.
Of course, Helen and Doctor Johnathan Mercy-Bringer come down together. Slays-Names begins to think on how to best determine what exactly Little Sister is, and how much of a threat she might be. The others, however, focus on enjoying breakfast.
Breakfast is interrupted by a knock on the front door…
Homeless allies of Helen have arrived, and they are very sick, with red pustules all over their bodies. Helen and the Doc get to work, trying to figure out what it is, and how to stop it. The Doc quickly realizes this disease is brand new, and clearly is a very dangerous variant on the Black Death, a “Red Death.” Helen tries to determine if there is some sort of spiritual undercurrent to this disease.
Worse, though, is that Red Death appears to be virulent enough to even sicken a Garou. Both Helen and the Doc try to do their best, and employ Connie to gather needed drugs and medicine. Connie quickly hotwires a car and drives out to get the goods- only after leaving a dumpster on its side in the front yard of the MacPherson House.
Meanwhile, Slays-Names steps sideways, intending to find a local spirit and get a read on Little Sister. Instead, he finds that a cluster of newly born banes are festering all over the umbral reflection of the front yard. He sends Raven off to get Ludwig. After Ludwig arrives, the two of them quickly dispatch the young banes.
It becomes clear to Slays-Names that these banes are a result of the diseased Homeless, and that this Red Death spawned them. Not a good sign for things to come. So, he instead decides to take a look into it as well as Little Sister. He brings Ludwig along with him, and journeys to a nearby umbral locale with ties to Luna.
A local Lune (moon-spirit), a crescent moon half-asleep during this full moon, greets Slays-Names. After an offer of chiminage, the Lune asks Slays-Names what he wants to know:
“This new disease, this ‘Red Death’, how far does it reach? How many are sick with it?”
The Lune departs, promising to return as soon as it learns the answer. Meanwhile, Ludwig asks Slays-Names a few questions on the umbra, learning what he can of the ancestral homelands of the Get of Fenris.
The Lune returns, and informs Slays-Names that the Red Death will:
“By tomorrow, it will have spread to every City and Place of Man on Gaia. Rorg stirs now, because of it, Malfeas rises and the Weaver spins quicker and quicker.”
Slays-Names asks about Little Sister as well, and learns that she is “Child of Dragon.”
Meanwhile, Ashlar finds himself alone with Pisses-Gold and Little Sister. Pisses-Gold tells him that Little Sister now wishes to stay with the Broken, and that she has a service to perform for them. The Prophecy of the Last Klaive cannot be told by any Elder of the Sept to anyone except another Elder…
…But since Little Sister is a Mokole, one of those who acts as the “Memory of Gaia”, she can channel one of her ancestors that heard that prophecy when Stag originally gave it to the founders of the Sept back in 1805.
So, as a loophole, Little Sister can tell the Pack the prophecy, which Pisses-Gold is certain they need to hear. They are interrupted when Doc and Helen come in.
“Pisses-Gold, do you know the Rite of Cleansing? We think we might need it.”
Pisses-Gold frowns for a moment, and gets up. “Of course I do! Come outside, all of you, you might learn something.”
Pisses-Gold then performs the Rite of Cleansing on all of the Homeless allies of Helen, using a Bone Gnawer variant of the rite that is quite heavy on the absinthe. Sad for Connie, who before leaving had been enjoying quite a bit of the stuff.
Once cleansed, the Doc and Helen are fairly certain the meds Connie is retrieving will help them recover as best as possible.
Well, eventually everyone gets back together and the Pack discusses what to do. The Red Death is spreading throughout the entire world, and do they need to do something?
Ludwig demands that they take some sort of action, especially turning on Father Pisses-Gold.
Ashlar suggests coming up with a plan before doing anything.
Pisses-Gold turns things over to Slays-Names, instead deciding to go inform the Sept Leader Kataryna Deathless about whats happening.
Before Slays-Names can say or do anything, Ludwig leaves, with the Doc behind. They are going to try and get the Elders to do something or so help them…
At Fong’s, they find Kataryna, but she is only willing to talk to the Doc, as both of them are Silver Fangs. Ludwig learns from Pisses-Gold what Kataryna thinks of the Red Death- a way to help cull humanity down. She sees no reason to try and interfere with it. Pisses-Gold is angry with this as well, especially with Kataryna sending the Wendigo off to fight the Black Spiral Dancers.
Kataryna asks Doc what he thinks she should do about the current situation; Doctor Johnathan doesn’t feel that he has anything useful to advise. She informs him that he and his pack are to immediately show so that they can conduct the duel “and all this shit with the Wereraven done and over. We need to be working on more important things.”
So Doctor Johnathan reports back to the rest of the Pack. Meanwhile, Ludwig goes down into the Caern in order to find Duncan, his mentor, and ask him about whats going on. Ludwig, it seems, has a issue with this whole situation.
Ludwig confronts Duncan, and causes his mentor to hesitate about the duel. Duncan has been setting up the Heart of the Caern for the duel for the life of the Wereraven. Duncan at first is excited for the fight, but his talk with Ludwig seems to lower his excitement some.
The pack comes into the Caern, as does the rest of the Sept. And they begin the ceremonial trial by combat to decide the fate of the wereraven.
Unbeknowst to the Sept, Slays-Names lets Ellie go- she asks him:
“Anything you wish for those in Spokane to know?”
He replies: “The betrayers are close, we are close, to getting them.”
“Long live Clan MacPherson,” Ellie exclaims, before shifting into Raven form and flying away…
Once together, the Sept announces its champion: “Ludwig.”
And for the raven, the Broken have their own Ahroun step forward, Mercy-Bringer. This shocks the Silver Fangs of the Sept, causing them to reconsider.
The two agree to fight in Crinos, in the waist deep water on the rocks of the Heart of the Caern.
They wait for Stag to announce the start of the duel…
Mercy-Bringer moves first, using a gift to cause his hair to move in a breeze, then he shifts immediately into Crinos.
Ludwig shifts into Crinos, and tries to kick Mercy-Bringer in the face.
Connie tries to stop the fight, but a angry Duncan holds him in place- Slays-Names joins Stag and
Raven in the Umbra, watching the fight from the otherside. He holds Ludwig’s hammer and Klaive- and the Klaive seems to ‘like’ Slays-Names’ presence. Like it was familiar and approved of him.
The fight continues, back and forth, until Ludwig knocks Mercy-Bringer over. But Mercy-Bringer refuses to surrender- so Ludwig instead bares his throat and turns his barely controlled fury on the Sept-(paraphrasing):
“You dare let packmates fight? This is OUR territory: raven and all his children are OUR territory respect that! I surrender because it should never have gotten this fucking far!”
And as those words echo, the chapter closes with our Pack earning a tiny bit more respect from their Sept, for now.
End of the story, so bonus XP this time!
|Ludwig||8 Voted Reward!||Honor 1|