The first seconds after they go through the portal everything is chaos. Max is fighting a Black Spiral and is attacked by another as they enter while Faeleas is attacked by two before he has any chance to do anythong else. The fight is a mess, teeth and claws everywhere. After what seems like hours the fighting stops. Max and Faeleas somehow managed to come out of the fight more or less unharmed. Before they have a chance to do anything, a giant monster lands close by. The monster is covered in a tar like oozing black slime, which literally spills all over the ground with every step of it’s massive legs. It takes every inch of willpower, courage and self control within Max and Faeleas to lie still without panicking. The monster pokes through the debris of the fallen Black Spirals sniffing the air. Only then do Max and Faeleas realize, that they are covered not only in the blood and guts of the now dead Spirals, but also in the black ooze drifting off the monster. Lying in a heap of dismembered bodyparts, they have managed to stay hidden from the monsters sight and as they are covered in various wyrm tainted liquids the monsters is unable to catch their scent.
The monster soon looses interest in the heap of bodies and as it unfolds a huge pair of wings they can see how it appears to jump over the edge and into the darkness below. For the first time since they went through the portal Max and Faeleas have some time to check their surroundings to figure out where they are.
They believe they are in some kind of fortress or castle. The ground they are lying on and some walls nearby have a hard and cold stone surface. Looking over the edge where the monster disappeared they sense that they are at an incredible height. The darkness is so deep it is almost impossible to see the rising towers and walls that make out the unbelievably large fortress that surrounds them. Above them the main tower of the fortress reaches high into a sky so dark it appears to go on forever. They crawl over to a low wall and stand up to have a look at the world outside the fortress.
The second they lay their eyes upon the realm that is Malfeas, they regret it. The scenery before them brings pain and terror in a way they have never experienced before. And even though it hurts and burns beyond anything they have ever imagined, they find it hard, almost impossible to take their eyes from it again. Struggling to find their second courage they manage crawl back down behind the wall.
As reality dawns on the two Garou, they talk a little about their chances and what they can do, if anything to get out of this place. First things first they need to get down and hopefully out of this fortress. Searching the area they find a door opening up into the castle. They enter and begin the long descend. The castle is a maze of hallways and stairs. On some levels they walk for hours without finding nothing but empty hallways. They are looking for stairs leading down, and meanwhile they are trying to avoid danger by moving as slowly and silently as possible.
On more than one occasion they are forced into hiding in the deepest and darkest holes to avoid being spotted. After a long time they have lost all track of time and direction. Unfortunately they find very few stairs going down and even fewer doors. Theier only luck at this point is that they somehow have managed to sneak around the castle without coming across any of the creatures that live here.
Suddenly they hear voices behind them and they hurry into a dark alcove staying as low as they can. They see Two Black spiral Dancers in the company of a massive troll like creature standing as tall and wide as the corridor itself. The trio stops a few yards from the two Garou and faces the wall. After some seconds a section of the wall slides open revealing a door. A shadow of human form stands in the door, the Spirals talk with the shadow for a while before it steps aside letting the troll through the door. The two Spirals continue down the corridor passing Max and Faeleas without noticing them. The shadow stands in the corridor for a while scanning the place in both directions before it enters the room and closes the door.
Max and Faeleas looks down the corridor after the two Spirals. They are very hard to locate in the dark corridor, but suddenly a light comes on. Apparently they have opened a door and light are coming into the corridor from the stairs behind the door. The two Spirals enters the door and start descending the stairs. Max and Faeleas decides that this is their chance. They run towards the door as it is closing, Max goes through the door first with Faeleas right behind him, changing to Crinos as he attacks the two spirals. Fighting starts on the stairs and they are both badly wounded as they destroy the first Spiral. The second manages to land a powerful strike on Faeleas almost killing him. As a result Faeleas frenzies and runs down the stairs. Max deals with the remaining Spiral before following Faeleas. The stairs continue downwards for a very long time, Max can still hear the faint sounds of Faeleas in front of him. Suddenly he passes the corpse of a headless Black Spiral and a little farther down the stairs he also comes across the head.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs he can hear sounds of fighting up ahead. The stairs open up into a room larger than any he has ever been in. On the other side of the room some 500 yards away, he sees a huge door 50 yards wide and high. The room is filled with long wooden tables and benches. Many of the tables are filled with what looks like food but smells like something completely different. The entire room is illuminated by several fires set in large iron braziers. In the middle of the room Faeleas collapses in a pool of Black Spiral reamins. Behind him Max hears the sound of several creatures running down the stairs. He runs to the now unconscious Faeleas, picks him up and hides under one of the tables in the room. Across the room at the stairs a handful of Black Spiral Dancers exits the stairs. They are obviously seraching for the culprits as they spread out in the room looking under tables and benches. Under the table Max wakes up Faeleas and they are both waiting as the Black Spirals are closing in. Just as Max and Faeleas are getting ready to jump out and make their last stand, the Spirals suddenly stops. Somewhere in the room something or someone has entered and now the Black Spiral Dancers are leaving the way they came.
Holding their breath Max and Faeleas are staying under the table. They hear footsteps closing in. Something takes a seat at the table, and after a few second they hear a familiar voice.
“Are you coming out so we can talk?”
Max and Faeleas crawls out from under the table and takes a seat on one of the benches. The thing sitting next to them have assumed a human form. They don’t recognize the person but the voice and smell of the man leaves no doubt. This is the Black Spiral Dancer whom they have faced and fought against on several occasions earlier, the same Black Spiral Dancer who made a deal with Shaira back in San Fransisco.
The Black Spiral seems to be surprised to find the two Garou in this place. He asks them why they are here and how they plan to get out. Getting out is something they of course don’t know how to do at the moment. Trying to figure out what his plan is, Max and Faeleas asks him why he apparently saved them from the other Spirals before. He tells them the same story that he told Shaira. For him to fulfil his destiny, he need them and their pack alive. It is a part of a plan, set in motion by things greater than any of them. To Max’s and Faeleas’ surprise, he claims that it is also in part the will of Gaia that this plan will be followed and executed.
As the Black Spiral accepts that Max and Faeleas didn’t exactly decide to come here, and that their pack most likely also will come here searching for them, he asks if they will make a deal with him. He will help them try to escape the realm of Malfeas and be reunited with their pack, though he cannot of course promise anything. In return he only asks that they will let him go once they are free, promising that they will do their part in pursuing their destiny. Max and Faeleas agrees to this deal.
The Black Spiral takes a large wolf pelt that have been lying across one of the tables, and spreads it out on the floor. Max and Faeleas lie down on the pelt in Lupus form. Before closing it around them, the Spiral takes a large pile of the food like substances from the table and pours it over the two wolves. The stench alone makes their stomachs turn. Enclosed in darkness under the pelt, Max and Faeleas only get a glimpse of what happens as the Black Spiral changes into what they believe to be his Crinos form. The Spiral picks up the pelt containing the two wolves and start walking towards the exit with long heavy strides.
As they clear the fortress and the Spiral starts the journey across the realm of Malfeas, Max and Faeleas are filled with a gnawing sensation that something will go wrong stopping them from leaving the realm. The sounds of Malfeas are overwhelming and as terror grips their bones they fight to keep focus. The strides of the Spiral are making the pelt bounce back and forth as they hang slung over his back, adding nausea to the many feelings that are going through their heads. On several occasions they are both overcome by the many sensations and as a result they empty the contents of their stomachs in the pelt.
As time goes by they loose any remaining sense of time as they constantly drift in and out of consciousness. At one point the Spiral wakes them up, as one of his massive paws are searching through the pelt. When he finally graps a leg of meat, he pulls it out. He tells them to stay alert. Shortly after they hear voices of other creatures nearby. As they come closer the voices starts communicating with the Spiral. They can’t understand anything that is beeing said, but from what little they can see through the holes in the pelt, it appears that they have reached some kind of guardpost. Having talked with the creatures for several minutes the Black Spiral starts moving again. As the sound of the voices fade away behind them, so does the sounds of Malfeas. As a proof of this, the Spiral suddenly speaks to them.
“The worst part is over, but nobody’s safe yet. So stay down and keep quiet. We still have a long way to go”. Somewhat relieved Max and Faeleas feels their hopes go up a little. It appears that they just might make it anyway.
On the other side
Following the Stag in close Lupus formation, the pack and Myrrdin have passed the Umbra without trouble and are now travelling across the Deep Umbra going places where none of them ever has gone before. As the hours pass, darkness becomes omnipresent and the pack are filled with a disturbing sense that danger is approaching.
As the Stag slows down it feels like the darkness around them is coming to life. There is nothing to be seen, but noises are creeping closer. They sense movement as they are slowly being surrounded. Standing back to back they face the unseen enemies, weapons drawn and ready to fight. The Stag stops, “they are here”.
Suddenly a deep and terrifying growl pierces the night, and within a few seconds everything around them grows quiet, the unseen presence have apparently disappeared. Out of the darkness steps a enormous Black Spiral Dancer, looking down on the pack. As the scent of the Spiral fills their nostrils it becomes clear to the pack, who they are facing.
Before any of them has a chance to do anything the Black Spiral takes the wolf pelt he had slung on his back and lays it before his feet. Out of the pelt falls two very familiar wolves. Corriuch is on the verge of fury as he sees the unconscious bodies of his pakcmates lying on the ground before him covered in blood and filth. He is ready to attack at any moment, and John stands by his side awaiting his actions. Something inside Corriuch makes him stop and as he does this both Max and Faeleas stands up. They turn to look at the Black Spiral Dancer and they exchange a few words with him before he slowly backs away and disappears into the darkness. Without hesitation the pack turns around and starts the long journey back to the Umbra with the Stag safely leading the way.
Sunday, June 11. 2005
The pack have run all night escaping the Deep Umbra without any incidents. During the run Corriuch took a minor detour on the other side, hunting for some breakfast. In the early morning hours they find a save spot in the Umbra wilderness and make camp.
Max and Faeleas are exhausted after the long run. The pack help them get cleaned up and healed by the Mothers Touch. Max and Faeleas tries to explain and tell the story of what happened in Malfeas. After having heard the tale Johnathan begins arguing with Shaira. He doesn’t agree with Shaira on how he have dealt with the fact the two members of his pack have just exited the realm of Malfeas after having made a deal with a known Black Spiral Dancer. The discussion gets heated and after a while Johnathan leaves the camp.
He keeps walking until he’s far away from the camp. He calls an old Glasswalker contact, and tells him about the situation. He also tells them his own assessment of what happened. The Glasswalkers ensures him that they will contact N.Y. and inform them of what has happened. The Glasswalker tells John that, if it should come to a trial he will most likely be summoned as a witness, so they will recommend that he returns to New York immediately, without making further contact with the pack.
Back at the camp the pack still talks about what they have to do. They also discuss what to do regarding Myrrdin’s father. A couple of hours after John left the camp, they recieve a text message from John which simply says:
“This situation needs to be dealt with. I’ll see you in New York.”
A short while later the Stag arrives at the camp. He informs them that some local Garou have asked to talk with the pack. The Stag leads the way as they run for a few miles. On the other side they are met by a single Garou, stading on the side of a road. With an italian accent he quickly tells the pack, that he’s here to pick them up. He drops two bags in front of the pack, containing a new set of clothes to Max and Faeleas. A few seconds later five cars comes driving down the road. They are asked to get into the cars, one member of the pack in each car. As they climb into the cars they are followed by two Garou, whom they didn’t see before they entered the car.
They are taken to a small private airport where the cars park in a small hangar. In the hangar they are met by another italian guy. He takes out a laptop and places it on the hood of one of the cars. Having pushed a few button he steps aside and with a wave of his hand tells the pack to step closer.
On the screen they see the image of a tired Simon Gentle. Speaking clearly and quickly he tells the pack, that they are to board a plane to New York in a few minutes. They are being summoned to a hearing, regarding the incident with Malfeas and the Black Spiral Dancer. They are not allowed to make any contact with any Garou until the hearing. Simon knows that the pack i currently helping Myrrdin, so he calls him forth. He apologizes to Myrrdin about this unexpected and surprising turn of events. And he ensures him that whatever happens at the hearing and whatever the outcome of a possible trial might be, will not have any effect of the pack helping him with his quest. He finishes by telling Myrrdin that the guys who took them to the hangar will drive him anywhere he wants.
The italian guy closes the laptop and escorts the pack to the waiting plane outside, which takes them directly to New York. Meanwhile Myrrdin has been put into one of the cars and is asked where he wants to go.