Pulling into the professional setting of a dive bar, with the gravitas of cigarette haze and neon lighting, we got down to club business. First thing’s first: due to a…“shuffling” of membership, Boss had some new roles to assign. First, we uninimously inducted Dee into the pack, trainee no more. Second, and more importantly, I got promoted to VP. I always knew I’d climb the corporate ladder one way or another.
Next was who to trust for the silver deal: the Estates would give us money and freedom, but probably fuck us over in the end; Calico Jack was more trustworthy and we’d keep control of the flow, but we’d owe him later. There wasn’t much deliberation, probably due to the fact that it’s easier to punch a person who does you wrong than an abstract legal entity, and Walter set up arrangements for Jack.
Werewolf Force, roll out: Dee delivered Walt’s paperwork before buggering off to spy on the military movements in Ukiah; Walt and Brook headed to Tesla to finalize paperwork; and Boss and I headed to the Golden Gate Guardians.
In Ukiah, Dee stealthed her way inside, dodging physical alarms and mystic wards in that slinky way she has. Evidently all was well among the populace as can be for a military occupation.
She dropped in on the good ol’ local lawman, who was less than pleased to see her but scurried her inside, making the point that Sons of Thunder were persona non grata in a very lethal kind of way. Sorry, Latin-to-biker translation: if they sees us they gonna shoot us the fuck up. She let the sheriff know that we’re the best chance for giving the 33rd the boot, so any help would be welcome.
The 33rd have been keeping their noses clean, but he noted that there’s some unusual activity at our garage, including the presence of people important to the Sons taking up a sort of “permanent residence”. Likely that it’s double-duty bait and hostage scenario, in addition to the place being made the 33rd’s high command.
He also mentioned that Traeger was getting on in a rape-y sort of way with him and probably some others as well, so there’s that, should we go the Court Martial route. Also amiss, his cop friends have been getting offers for private security work…in a town overrun with Marines, and that’s not suspicious in the slightest. And one last thing: some of the homeless in town have gone missing, all of them veterans.
It was a perplexing mishmash of info, but it was enough to get Dee going, starting with questioning deputy sergeant Roebut. And go she did – right out the window and down the balconies because fuck physics.
Meanwhile in the mountains, Brook and Walt made a 2am arrival in Tesla, just in time for a midnight meeting at the center of town, flanked by a pair of choppers and a tense standoff between mercs and miners. The mercs, in that adorably dominant way that they envision themselves having, demanded identification. Brook identifies themselves as owners of the mine, Walt provides the physical evidence, and the G.I. Jokes reluctantly let the pair through to the meeting between Bea and Vanderwald.
Vanderwald called bullshit on our claim on account of being outlaws. Walt lawyered right the fuck back with the validity of our LLC. Vanderwald accused us of exploiting the miners; Walt objected with assertions of ethics and oh my god would someone just LIGHT SOMETHING ON FIRE ALREADY?!
Bea finally steps in and slaps Vanderwald with a denial, adding that we’ve tried to help the miners out while Vanderwald and her ilk have tried to make slaves of them. Defeated, Vanderwald leaves in one of the two whirlybirds with a suspiciously pleasant demeanor. Obviously, she’s plotting something.
Bea goes over the final details with Brook and Walt: the deed’s in whomever’s name we want, but the Sons get a part of the profits and silver. With everything all nice and legal-like, Walt and Brook take off, Brook letting Bea know how to get ahold of us if things get hairy.
Bushed from a very long day of legaling, Walter heads to his SF hotel while Brook catches up to Boss and I.
After a restful night, Jorst greets Walter when he awakes, which is totally not an invasion of personal privacy. Jorst, it would seem, is unhappy with his pack’s “caginess” and has little patience for our “pissing matches”, as he calls them (it’s called “asserting dominance”; Jesus, watch a Nat Geo documentary). Vital information was withheld from the Sons of Thunder, specifically information around the Golden Mountain Shogun, the manipulation of his retainers, and his new residence: Ukiah. The Guardians were trying to keep the Shogun safe, but now that things have gone tits-up (my words, not Jorst’s, in case you wondered) it’s working to their disadvantage.
Oh, hey, and the Pure are trying to wake the Shogun in order to sink California so that the only dry land that remains is territory under their control, because why have a mustache if you’re not going to villainously twirl it.
In Frisco, Boss and I met with Stretch and Zamir at some little cafe for coffee, and they brought a date: an earthy-smelling block of meat and hair who called himself Ross and needs our help in some way.
Dev fills Stretch in on the goings-on in San Jose: all is good but there’s an MC of leeches called the Los Brujas that could cause future problems with drug running. Now, we need help closing up on Wincott and 33rd. This gets Ross’ attention as the 33rd have taken over Point Arena.
Ross takes issue with this his for his own reasons, but for us there’s a lighthouse there with a strong connection point to the Hisil. The Fomorians have been working on the Golden Mountain Shogun to try and sink California by exploiting all of the temples devoid of their guardians, and that lighthouse is our way in.
Wolves and bear-man – who is HUGE once he stands up; he makes this guy I once knew, Six-Six Sam, look petite by comparison – and high tail it up the coast to Mendocino, riding through the pouring rain.
Point Arena is creepy and foggy and infested with marines guarding our lighthouse.
I work a little spirit mojo to screw with their com equipment; Boss has Ross create a distraction while he and I get furry to slip through. Ross shifts as well…into a giant motherfucking werebear.
That was not expected, yet satisfyingly apropos.
A two ton roaring Ross charges down the humvees; a distraction has been made. Marines scream in terror and begin firing on the lunacy-inducing werebear, starting a short battle that ended with dead marines and bloody werebeasts.
Brook pulls up in time to see Ross putting his pants on, realizing he missed a party, though unsure if it was one he wanted to be at. He cautiously greets Ross and the two introduce each other, and we all swap stories. Boss figures we’re being watched, what with Blue Jay being at the Tesla mines before we could tell him no.
We head through the lighthouse into the Hisil, which is swarming with para-drop spirits while a prudent TLE watches from the distant treeline. Inside, stairs head down, so down we go. After an eternity we reached the scalding cathedral chamber of the Shogun with hundreds of earth sprit retainers holding court around a pit to the center of the earth and a very empty Shogun throne.
Ross loudly demands audience with the Shogun, in much the tactful way that a real bear demands your face meat. The retainers, in not-at-all-creepy unison, proclaim that he slumbers elsewhere, taken by those who vanquished him, Uratha who originally took him down. The vanishing retainers have been brought by the Silver pure to be bound here to hold up the San Andreas Fault in the Shogun’s absence. The Shogun who has been moved to Ukiah.
Because of course he has. Thanks for the exciting territory, Scarpa.
The spirits bade us to leave before the Pure return through the tunnel that they point out at the back of the cathedral, a wide tunnel leading east, likely to Ukiah.