The Uthra Cornell traveled through the sacred lands deep within the wilderness of Northern California. With him, White Buffalo and Faun. Their purpose, to save me.They knew I had been captured after the trap at the gathering had been sprung. To do so was to put themselves in unnecessary risk, one that could cost them their lives.
For hours they traveled, until Cornell’s senses lead him to a mother bear, and knew he was on the right track. After a time they came to the mouth of a great cave, a ritual half circle of bones guarding it’s entrance. This was the place from which they could perform the ritual to save an entity from the Rising Deep.
White Buffalo a wise member of her tribe explained the plan. Cornell would perform the ritual from within the bone circle, a rite she would teach him. Faun and she would protect him during it’s casting. The ritual itself would reach into the spirit world to a place where the Fomori could and likely would cross-over from. In his concern Cornell offered his weapon to Faun, who was appreciative in her way. And so the lesson of the ritual began.
Elsewhere, Devlin Monroe returned from the Hisil, the guise of a Paradrop spirit fading and returning his true form. He turned back towards San Francisco, returning to the Sea Lion Inn where his pack was set to reconvene. A room over from the alpha, Brook the Cahalith dreams.
Silver being pressed, the sound of it growing louder with each passing moment. The heartbeat of the Earth, plates of earth grinding with pressure building. His lover’s heart beating. The heartbeat of an unborn child. He awakens and seeks the presence of his pack. Brook and Devlin Monroe speak to each other, but neither talks of the weight upon their hearts.
From the darkened corner of the room Delia the Irraka reveals herself, having been there during the entirety of their conversation. She tells them of two things — The Golden Gate Guardians would aid them in the fight to come. Any two members of their pack could be called for and would join the cause. The other, that the women of Ukiah were being held in the Den of the Sons of Thunder.
White Buffalo’s tutelage at an end, the preparations of the ritual began in earnest. Cornell moved to the half circle of bone warding the cave. Before he could step across the line, a roar of bestial rage and fury rose from within the cavern shaking the Ithaeur to his core.
An hour passed he learned to master the fear of the primal spirit of the bear within the cavern. When he took his step across the line of bone, charms of bone hanging from the cave entrance rattled violently — as if something within had stirred.
Careful to not enter the cave, he began the casting the rite. Runes etched into the ground and his own blood used to fuel the spell’s power. The ground beneath his feet began to dampen, and the air became thick with moisture. The spell was working, the Rising Deep was coming. The portal opened, and Cornell howled.
For my part, pain wracked my body. Toxin pulsed its way through my body, paralysing my form but not dulling my senses. Each hook like tooth that pierced my skin as I lay trapped in darkness was a sharp reminder of the power of the deep.
Howling, the sound came to me and as it did, the power of the toxin began to wane. Taking the opportunity I change into my war form, and with some difficulty slice my way through the massive tentacle that has been my prison. Above the negative image of the Old Bear Den guides my way as I swim, the vicious tentacles chasing after me.
The damp earth beneath Cornell gives way to mud, and it begins to rise up his form. He sputters water from his mouth and gasps for breath as he begins to drown, but continues to focus his mystic will. Behind him, White Buffalo and Faun fight the Fomori that have risen from the damp earth beyond the bone circle. White Buffalo drains moisture and life from her opponents as Faun performed dazzling feats of agility, leaping from opponent to opponent bludgeoning them with the weapon Cornell had graced her with.
The gateway before Cornell began to ripple and then burst forth as I leapt through the portal of water. Cornell gestured for the portal to close, the sounds of combat intensifying behind him. As it shut, a tooth from the tentacles slashed outward and was promptly cut from the limb it once served. Wasting no time, Cornell grabbed the offered tooth and joined the fray.
Many Fomori were slain that night, and the four of us parted ways soon after. Cornell and I to San Francisco, White Buffalo and Faun to Ukiah.
As the television in Devlin Monroe’s room changed from entertainment to news Delia’s watched the report that came on with special interest. The Third Third are being recalled from Ukiah. Accusations of sexual assault, the strange disappearances of law enforcement officers and vagrants paled in comparison to the headline. Kyle Miller Wincott, leader of the Third Third was wanted for the murder of the Mayor of Ukiah, his personal pistol found at the crime scene.
Sharp eyed Delia turned to her alpha, a smile on her face “Sooooo… murder, huh?”
Wolfishly grinning in return “Yeah.”
A moment later Delia heard it, the sound of ticking. A ticking bomb.
Outside of the Inn, Cornell and I arrive to a strange sight, a message. A standard issue marine corp locker. The smell of paint and blood emanating from within. A thunderous roar as the hotel explodes, the heat washing over us, carrying screams from the ruined hotel. The two of us ran towards the burning structure. We couldn’t know that moments before Delia, Brook, and Devlin Monroe had lept to varying degrees of safety through the back window.
A woman and her child were all we could save.
In the wake of the blast Brook is able to determine that military grade explosives were used, and Delia searched but could find no sign of enemy.
Together the pack travel into Golden Gate Park, to Strawberry Hill. The planning point for the strike on Ukiah. The Golden Gate Guardians meet us, and I place down the Marine locker, and Devlin Monroe wants nothing to do with it. Inside the box I find the head of a blond woman, Devlin Monroe’s mother, the glyph for ‘blood traitor’ carved into her forehead. A note, written in blood ‘Blood will out’, ‘No kin of mine’, ‘you’ll all drown’, ‘you are impure’, ‘Forsaken for a reason’.
Enraged Devlin Monroe kicks the locker and it’s contents down the hill. And we begin planning for War.
Of The Golden Gate Guardians, Devlin Monroe selects Ronny Shinigami the Ithaeur, and Smoking Mirror’s Daughter the Irraka. But he has no idea of what the resistance of the Third Third in Ukiah will be like. Walter Kimihiro, a Kitsune provides the answer. He’s been in communication with Faun, who has procured an iPhone and has done the reconnaissance for us.
The city choke points have an increased military presence, as is the case with their den. A helicopter and a tank patrol the highways and city limits. Wincott is absent from the photos, indicating he could be in the Hisil.
Assignments are given out. White Buffalo and myself charged with taking the Helicopter, and the deadly Stern. Cornell and Shinigami to stop the daily sacrifices providing power to the Warbird. Walter and Devlin Monroe will travel to the Sheriff’s department to create a safe point for the city civilians. Delia being tasked with repurposing the Third Thirds Tank. Smoking Mirrors Daughter to hunt for snipers and ambushes. Brook to hold the den. All dependant on the first step, taking the Garage, their den, back.
We set our sights on Ukiah. Meeting at the intersection of Lincoln and The Great Highway. The Urtha mystics open our path to the assault, a Moon Bridge connecting San Francisco and the distant captured city.
Our motorcycles roar thunderously as we set ourselves on the path, Devlin Monroe leading the charge. We travel into the sky at incredible rates, stars above, the Earth far below. Ice clings to us as we begin our descent, directly into a cloud of Paradrop spirits.
Hails of bullets rip through the air towards us, and in response we swerve and avoid as many bullets as we can, taking no small amount of physical harm. Foxfire and bullets sling back at our attackers in response, spirits dropping from sight, many more replacing them.
One after the other, The Sons of Thunder break through the spiritual blockade, Devlin and Delia followed quickly by the rest. I find myself harried by the spirits and take a leap from my bike, mauling a Paradrop in the air and riding it through to the earthly plane, as we arrive in Ukiah.
The battle begins.