Beyond the Veil: The Myriad
We were happy in Ausable. We had a territory, we had a totem, we had dominion. But the tribe needed to hold a meeting in Montreal about the “retirement” of a few of the older alphas, and we were all “invited.” One of those “we won’t tell you that you have to be there, but it is expected that you attend, or face negative repercussions” kids of things.
I’ve always hated bringing the pack out of our territory. There’s too much that could happen. Now, I’ve never been the overly cautious type. But after what happened to my family after my Change, I keep a close watch on the people close to me. The pack is about the only family I have left, and they look to me to keep them safe. That’s my duty. The pack defends the gauntlet, I defend the pack. I was on edge the entire time we were in Montreal. Mostly because of the feeling of being out of our comfort zone. There was another reason, however, one a little more personal.
The Oath tells us “You shall cleave only to Man,” meaning we can only sire children with the herd. To do otherwise debases us and risks a ghost child. Now, I’ve never sired a ghost child, and I hope I never will. But the thing about packs is that you might have a human lover, but there is no bond as close as that between pack-mates. Katherine and I had been in the same pack since just after her first change, when I myself was barely more than a pup. We have been through so much together. The bond of pack-mates transcends emotions like love and trust, but that doesn’t mean that those emotions aren’t there. So yes, there was love there between us. The pack knew about it because we didn’t try to keep it a secret from them. We both knew the risks of any sort of physical act of consummation, so we never actually did anything of the sort. We did however share a bed in our den, and while we took lovers from the herd to slake our lust, those relationships were always fleeting and shallow.
I was uneasy going to Montreal because the tribe has very old rules about “fraternizing” among the People. Nothing akin to murdering one of the People, but it is more than I wanted to deal with. Katherine and I had to keep the relationship low-key, and I had to trust the pack to not let anything slip. Luckily, the visit went down without any of the normal pissing contests that usually accompany a Storm Lord Tribal Council. We were on our way back home after only a few days.
We got word on the way back through that there was some Beshilu activity in Plattsburgh. As far as we knew, there was no local pack in the area, and other than a Vampire or two that managed to make a name for itself even in our circles, the only supernatural presence we felt were local spirits that were starting to gather in numbers near the college. So we did what any responsible pack would do. We took a little vacation in Plattsburgh to address the rat problem. Funny how things can go from routine to total shitstorm in a matter of days.
I don’t even know where to begin. We had tracked the bastards to one of the campus buildings we found out later was named Hawkins. We were met with terrified rat hosts, and were able to just walk right into where they were trying to shred a hole right into the Shadowlands. We patched it as best we could initially, and then we set to work trying to track the cowards down. Shelly, our scout, didn’t come back after the second night. It wasn’t unusual for her to be gone for several nights at a time, but I told her to check in at least every 48 hours. The rest of us went hunting one night, and we found something new. We thought that the Beshilu couldn’t do more than become anthropods like our Gauru form, but when two of the things merged into this giant two-headed, four-armed monstrosity that that tore through us like we were wet bags of slush, it was our turn to flee.
They killed Shelly. That much was obvious from the second I faced the four-armed beast. I could smell her all over its claws. We regrouped and tried to face them again the next night, and this time, they almost killed us all.
It was a glorious fight, at least from the perspective of a pack. The loss of a pack-mate is both the hardest thing a pack can handle and at the same time the single best thing for rallying the rest of the pack to perform above and beyond their normal abilities. We cut through their ranks like a blazing inferno through dry brush. Seth and Jacob didn’t even bother with Gauru form, they were rocking Urshul almost the entire time. Katherine and I were like a natural disaster. Years of fighting and hunting together strengthened us and sharpened our senses. When we squared with the four-armed Beshilu, it was almost an even fight. Almost. After all, no matter how many arms you have, you’re still only a single beast, and we are two.
Katherine and I had the beast on the ropes, poised to rip out its throats. Just as She was about to strike, I saw Katherine fly through the air and land hard against a cabinet. There was another freakishly huge Beshilu that had ripped its way through the wall of the adjoining room. Katherine was trying to get up, but for the moment it was me by myself against two of these beasts. I howled for the pack to regroup, but there was no answer from either Jacob or Seth. With nothing else left, I called out to the rage spirit bound to my flesh by the fetish rite, demanding the power to defeat my enemies.
I know that I survived that fight. I was wounded very badly, but I was alive. Jacob and Seth were alive as well, also beaten badly. Even by our standards. I woke up back at Hawkins hall with the two of them trying to patch up what looked a gaping chest wound. At least, what I could see of it. Seth had mixed up one of his herbal concoctions that had me so out of my gourd that I probably could have operated on myself at that point. Between the growls and snarls, they managed to patch me up. When I asked where Katherine was, they told me she was dead. They gave me her locket, a trinket that I gave to her a few years ago, on her birthday. It wasn’t until a week later that Seth finally told me the whole story.
During the fight, I killed one of the bastards. The remaining one hit me hard enough to flay my chest open,and Kuruth took me. Powerful, the rage spirit is. Subtle, it is not. In my enraged state, I didn’t register the pain. Or the fact that I had liquified the other Beshilu, and was now trying to tear several new holes in Katherine, who could barely defend herself. Seth told me that when he and Jacob finally got to me, it was all they could do to subdue me. Their injuries were from me, as were Katherine’s. The difference was theirs weren’t fatal.
We have lost much in this venture. First Shelly, and then Katherine. Even worse, Katherine was lost through my own loss of control. I have failed in my primary role as pack alpha. Jacob tells me not to worry so much, that no one can control themselves all the time. Seth doesn’t talk as much as he used to, and won’t look me in the eyes anymore. We are a fragmented pack. At times like this, I would seek solace in Katherine’s presence, who knew my fears and could always comfort me. And the knowledge that her absence is my fault cuts that much deeper into my heart.
In the days after learning the truth about Katherine’s death, I scoured the Shadowlands. I wasn’t looking for anything, really, I just needed to get away. The spirits there regarded me with the hatred that my kind has come to expect from them, but now it was mingled with a level of disgust. To fall so far into depravity that we become slaves to kuruth? Such a thing is horrific even in the eyes of the spirits. So I made reparations as best I could without seeming weak, which would have been an even bigger problem.
It was a short time after that that we met a rogue band of misfits investigating the “disturbances” in Hawkins Hall. We had petitioned some spirits to come help us patrol the area since our numbers were thinning and we were still licking our wounds. One night while we were out we got word via our contacts that some vampires and mages were in Hawkins, poking around near the locus. Jacob and I went to investigate these investigators, who turned out to be relatively harmless, as far as vamps and mages go. The offered to help us with the Beshilu, and even managed to track them to one of the frat houses on Broad Street.
We took the fight to them, and after some rather impressive tricks, managed to isolate the Beshilu. Jacob, Seth, and I went after the last remaining Two-headed beast, and the rest of the humans went after the other hosts, who ran into the basement. Upstairs, the beast showed it had a few tricks up it’s sleeve. We rounded the corner to meet it in time for it to simply tear off one of Seth’s arms. Jacob and I went Urshul and proceeded to corner it, but Jacob took a lucky shot to the neck and wound up against a far wall, unconscious. The beast recognized me, and both heads laughed before it closed in. I wrestled with it for a few seconds before it managed to get far enough under me to pick me up and toss me through a wall. The shattering sheet rock and splintering wood revealed the presence of the other humans, who had arrived just in time to rip the beast apart. So maybe they aren’t so harmless after all.
After the confrontation, we bound Seth’s arm. it would be a week at least before he could regenerate it, but in time it would be as good as new. We could take that time to pack up and head back to Ausable, try to recover what was left of the pack. About a week later, we were jumped by a bunch of vampires dressed all in dark colors that blended with the night. They would not have normally been any problem for us, but they were tough, and their claws burned like silver. One managed to bite Jacob and then started chanting some sort of gibberish and waving his hands. A mark like a fiery brand appeared on Jacob’s neck and he collapsed, as another one slashed Seth across the chest. The locals had called the authorities, and when the police cruisers rounded the corner, it was all I could do to grab Seth and get out of there. Jacob was in Hishu form, so he would simply be taken to a hospital. I would tend to Seth and then return for Jacob.
Blood Magic and Politics
We had assumed that it would just be a minor thing to get Jacob, but we were wrong. Turns out the group of vamps that had attacked up were causing a bit more trouble in the city. Enough trouble, in fact, to draw the attention of our new friends; the humans that helped with the Beshilu. The group of them managed to track down Jacob, as well as get him out of the human hospital that he was in. The mark on his neck was preventing him from transforming and it was retarding his natural regeneration. I made arrangements to meet with the group the next night and help them to settle the debt for them helping with the Beshilu.
When I arrived, they were down a man. I guess they met a few of the vamps that attacked the pack and one of their group, a vampire named Gabe, went down. Davey, the hobo that lives behind The Green Room, informed the group that the vampire Primogen was the target, and the random deaths recently were because the Primogen had several proxies. Fucking coward. To hide behind servants and bodyguards? He deserves no leadership. But the group decided the best course of action was to try to protect this fool, so off we went to none other than Kehoe, another building on campus.
Once again, I was awed by these humans and their abilities. The martial artist, Zhi, obliterated enemies by manipulating the latent energies created by fire, which in turn was created by the hobo Davey, seemingly out of nothingness. The other vampire, Alexis, the police woman Sterling, and the other male Richard were like surgeons with their weapons. There were only a few instances when they worked as a true pack, but they had their moments.
In short, we destroyed the bad guys, punished the villains, and saved the day. I collected Jacob and Seth and as a group, we decided to stay in Plattsburgh for a while. With no neighboring pack, we could simply stake the territory as ours. We’d need to go back to Ausable and make arrangements, but it wouldn’t take more than a week to get things lined up properly.