Heroes of Mt. Pocono

Part VIII - Longleat House

Monday, May 9. 2005

The pack gather at Mt. Pocono. Johnathan shows the pack, what he has been working on lately. Johnathan have started the long and hard task, of telling the story of this pack starting the day they met almost a year ago on this very mountain. The story is told in a graphic novel, which Johnathan creates using his fetish “Minds Eye of the Cockroach”.

Johnathan convices the pack, to go with him on a trip to the Cyber Realm, to catch a Net-Spider spirit, that he needs to create a fetish. The pack first talk with their totem and afterwards they contact Patrick (Glasswalker, Theurge), to get some information about the Cyber Realm. Patrick knows a way into the realm, through a passage close to Wall Street. When they get to the realm Johnathan summons a Net-Spider Spirit, and he manages to convince it to enter his computer so that he hopefully will be able to create the fetish. While the rest of the pack fights off a growing number af spirits and creatures, Johnathan is succesful in creating the fetish (“Spider Hack PC”). Though the fight is hard and proving difficult for the pack, they manage to escape the realm as Johnathan completes his rite.
The rest of the day, the pack relaxes and recovers from the struggle.

Tuesday, May 10. 2005

Johnathan starts the day using Spider Hack, to have a look at some different suspicious companies, which may or may not have connections with the Wyrm. He is unsuccesful in some of the cases (Black Dog Gaming Factory, Tellus). He concludes that it is because these companies might have a stronger and very high security system. To get into the system, he needs to hardwire a connection on site.

Digging around inside Magadon’s system, Johnathan tries to find any evidence relating to Fransesco. It appears that all activities concerning Fransesco, ends shortly after the incident at Alcatraz. He also finds proof that several employees of Magadon, suspected that something was wrong regarding Fransesco and the business he made with the company.
Besides this, he find evidence which suggest that Magadon is involved in an illegal trade with endangered species. Apparently the have had some of the animals delivered to a warehouse at the New york City dock, belonging to a company named King Import. The animals have been moved to a research facility located outside New York.

Max and John goes down to the harbour to check the King Import warehouse out. There are no traces of the animals or of Magadon at the warehouse, so they return to Mt. Pocono.
Meanwhile Shaira visits Mother Larissa at Central Park. He want to hear her opinion about the pack’s human neighbor, who by now have seen and heard so many suspicious things, that they actually are considering sharing their secret with him.
Faileas goes for a run with some of the local Bone Gnawers. During the run he activates his battlescar fetish, and once again he feels light on his feet.
Courrich goes for a run around the suburbs. He had a dream recently, where he saw what he believes is a garden. Finding nothing that looks even remotely like what he saw in his dream, he thinks things over again.

Back at the house, the pack talk about the dreams they have had recently. Johnathan makes a search, involving the keywords that the pack have heard or seen in their dreams. The search takes them to a place called Longleat House, located in the southern part of England.

Located in Wiltshire County, Longleat House have been a part of the countryside since the middle ages. It has survived numerous owner, a large fire that nearly burned the house to the ground and due to several reconstructions over time, the house stills stands in all its glory this day. Besides serving as a hotel and private residence, the grounds is today one of the largest and most popular safari and adventure parks in Europe. In 1966 they opened the first safari park outside Africa, and since then the place has grown in both size and popularity.

Amongst a large amount of more or less uninteresting history about the castle going more than 500 years back, they come across some interesting facts. Apparently the house have over the years been home for several Gargoyles. Shaira knows some of the stories the Garou over time have written about these Gargoyles and especially the rumours, that the leeches somehow have found a way of using Gargoyles to their own good. The problem with the Longleat Gargoyles, is that no one knows where they are today. Some have been lost during reconstruction over the years, one is suspected to have been stolen, and at least five disappeard around 200 years ago.
Besides the Gargoyles they also discover the large hedge maze and the immense and beautiful garden in the park. These look very much like the gardens they all have dreamed about lately, and since they have no other clues, the pack decides to go to England and visit the house.

Friday, May 13. 2005

The pack arrives at Heathrow Airport in London. They rent a large Land Rover, and takes off towards Stonehenge. They arrive late in the afternoon, and decides to stay for the night. It has been a while since, they were here last, so they have some cathing up to do, with several of the local Garou. Leader of the Sept of Stones, Christopher (Fianna, theurge) is believed to be one of the wisest wolves in the entire sept, and he will gladly provide the pack with his knwowledge.

They ask some questions regarding the Gargoyles that have disappeared from Longleat House. One of these is most likely located at the British Museum in London. Several witnesses have seen a Gargoyle at the museum, though they have never confirmed wether or not it truly is one of the Gargoyles from Longleat. Nobody knows, how the Gargoyle ended up at the museum. One of the other Gargoyles resurfaced about 170 years ago, when it suddenly was spotted on a house in central London. Acording to the Garou nation, they believe that the house is occupied by a large group of vampires.

Talking with Christopher, also provides the pack with some information about Longleat House. Garou activity and supernatural activity as a whole, have always been on a low in the park and around the house for the past 500 years. Nobody really knows why the vampires never had any interest in the house. Garou activity in the house and surrounding woods have always been very limited. The house have always been a very active place. In the old days the place was home to the Count, but also the place where local villagers and peasants often gathered and met, and today the park is visited by thousands of people every day.
Beside the obvious difficulties in blending in with the many humans, to much Garou activity could have a bad influence on the many animals living in the safari park, which is also one of the reasons why the Garou nation have chosen to keep a safe distance from the house.

Christopher asks the pack about their sudden interest in Longleat House, and they tell him about the dreams they have had lately. Christopher talks with the Elder Galliard of the Sept, and together they start digging through the large amount of old books and scrolls located at Stonehenge.

After some time, the Galliard and Christopher returns. They tell the story about Rosemary Blackeyes.

More than 200 years ago, there lived a young woman in the woods outside Longleat. Her name was Rosemary, but the locals often called her Rosemary Blackeyes, or simply Blackeyes. She wokred as a fortune teller, but the locals obviously claimed she was a witch. Living alone and secluded in a small cabin in the woods, often seen talking to animals didn’t actually help her reputation.

Some of the old druids who had connection to the Garou, had their eye on Rosemary for a while. They agreed that she wasn’t Garou or Kinfolk, but there was no doubt that she knew things that normal people didn’t know. They decided that she probably was a Gaia Witch, which would explain her knowledge about the creatures of the woods and her reputation as being a witch.

217 years ago Rosemary is found dead in the garden og Longleat House, hanging from a tree. The locals quickly announce that she obviously committed suicide, since she already was known to be a crazy witch. A couple of druids later told a story to some Garou, that apparently Rosemary should have broken into Longleat House a few days before she is found dead. At the house she entered a party the Count was holding, were she screamed and yelled about the house being cursed and that everybody would be cursed if they didn’t take action. She was violently escorted from the party and a few days later she is found dead.

After having learned about Rosemary, the pack discuss what they have to do with Christopher. They decide that they at least have to visit Longleat House to figure out, whether or not Rosemary Blackeyes is somehow connected to the dreams they have been having.

Saturday, May 14. 2005

In the morning, the pack drive out to Longleat House. When they arrive, they decide to gain acces to the building, by checking in to the hotel. After having checked to room 511, 512 and 612, they take a walk aorund the park to see if they can find the places they remember from the dreams.

Standing before the hedge maze, John calls a bet. Last man to the center of the labyrinth loses. Shaira is the first one to find his way through and Johnathan only finds his way, because of the help from the rest of the pack.

Afterwards they find a remote place, where they can enjoy the beer Johnathan bought, and talk about their next move. They decide to return to the park at night, to check the place out on the Umbra.

They return to Longleat during the night, where they split up to search the grounds. Shortly thereafter strange things start to occur. They hear voices and sound and they see things they remember from their dreams. Out of nowhere Max is attacked by something he can’t see, and he ends up wrestling it in a large waterfilled bassin. Meanwhile Shaira is loosing his senses, getting lost in the maze. John is sneaking towards an entrance to the house, when the doors open and a massive darkness spills out engulfing him completely. He struggles for a while but the effects are too powerful, and he is forced into a frenzy.

As quickly as Max’s fight started it stops. His opponent is gone. He both hears and sees John obviously in a frenzy battling an inviseble enemy. He runs towards him to assist, but is instead attacked by John. Faeleas comes running around the corner of the building, where he finds John and Max fighting.

Meanwhile Courrich has been searching the Umbra, and has found the tree where Rosemary was hung. Looking closer he finds traces of the rope used. He goes looking for the others and locates Shaira in the maze. Courrich sidesteps to find him standing at a dead end. Shaira doesn’t remember how he got there. Maybe the voices called him here. Courrich goes back to the Umbra, and discovers a large wooden door, set in the wall af the maze exactly at the dead end.

The pack gathers outside the house, as John regains control over his mind. They decide to check out the door. Opening the door they find the entrance to a small unlit tunnel. It has apperently been dug out on the Umbra by some creature. The tunnel is very small, and they can only barely manage to crawl their way through. The tunnel ends in a cave 10’ wide. Standing against the wall an old and worn ladder leads 7’ up to a wooden trapdoor. They climb up the trapdoor to enter an even smaller room. This one is even smaller, and the walls and ceiling appears to be made entirely of stone. In the middle of the room stands three stone Gargoyles.

They start checking the place out, searching on both sides. The room with the Gargoyles is a hollow space within one of the many statues located in the gardens of Longleat. There is a door in the base of the statue, through which they can exit the room, but if the door is closed behind them, they can’t opne it from the outside. When they try to move the Gargoyles they discover that it is basically impossible. They are somehow locked in place by some kind of powerful spell, that have been cast on the Umbra.

After having discussed several theories, John and Courrich exits the statue and summons a Wolf spirit. They make good conversation with the spirit, who shares his knowledge about Rosemary. It tells them that Rosemary was helped by a badger to bury a treasure in the grounds. It doesn’t know anything about what the treasure was though. The spirit hints towards the fact that Rosemary was murdered instead of having committed suicide. The reason why they haven’t been able to contact, summon or by any means locating her, is most likely because she is being held captive by something on the other side.

The sun is slowly rising on the horizon, so they return to London where they grab a quick breakfast before going to rest.

Sunday, May 15. 2005

During the afternoon the pack slowly rises and return to Stonehenge, where they share their newly discovered information with a local Theurge.

They go back to Longleat later in the day, and quickly goes to the Umbra. They locate the tree where Rosemary was hung, which is still standing strong in the Umbra. They spend some time and effort in contacting the spirit in the tree hoping it can provide them with some kind of information. The spirit tells them what they already had figured out, that the badger have helped her dig the tunnel on the Umbra. The spirit then helped her providing wood for the door. As a token of her gratitude and to return the favor, Rosemary granted the spirit eternal life. Which means that even if the tree should be cut down in the human world, the spirit and the tree will still stand on the Umbra.

The spirit still has some memory about the night Rosemary died. It knows that several people were involved. On of these was cursed by Rosemary, a curse which also backfired onto the tree, leaving a deadspot at the exact spot where the rope was tied around the branch. The person who was cursed, was marked by a symbol, which it tries to explain to John who makes a sketch of it.

The pack returns to Stonehenge and starts digging through some books. John tries to find some connection between the old Lord of Longleat, and the vampires in London who are known to the Garou nation. He is certain that there is no connection between the family of the house and the vampires.

They keep searching for information about the family. They discover that Sir Bradbury Wiltshire passes the lordship to his son, because of old age and an ailing health. This is were the story about Sir Bradbury ends. Comparing the history of Sir Bradbury with the history of the Lords who comes after him, they discover that these are far more complete. In generel there are more information about the many Lords following Sir Bradbury, including the location of their tombs. Sir Bradbury Wiltshire is the only Lord in the written history of the house, whose death is not documented.

Faeleas and Max goes to London, in search of some local Bone Gnawers. A Garou from Stonehenge tells them to try searching Kensington Gardens in the eastern end of Hyde Park. Doing exactly that, they meet Billy who invites them to his small camp on the Umbra. They brief him quickly about Longleat and Rosemary, and asks if he could possibly help them getting some information regarding any connection with any vampires in London. Afterwards they go back to Stonehenge to pick up the rest of the pack, before they return to London, spending the night at the hotel.

Monday, May 16. 2005

The pack goes back to Longleat and joins one of the guided tours of the house. The guide takes them around the house where they find some different information they can use. They find two different paintings of Sir Bradbury, one of them painted after Rosemary died. It is clear that he have grown older with time. They learn that most of the basementis off limits, mainly because part of it has collapsed over time. John finds a breastplate that belonged to Sir Bradbury. The coat of arms painted on the breastplate is a part of the symbol the spirit of the tree described to John.
When the pack later are driving away from the house, they make a stop at a rest area, to talk things over. Suddenly John realizes that hasn’t considered the security system of the house. He tries to hack it, but learns that it has to be done on location. He turns to the company who controls the security, and learns what he needs to know to be able to hack their system. He also learns that they have cameras on every corner of the building, meaning that at least two cameras have recorded the fight between John and Max. They start planning how to get in and remove the footage.

They return to the house, one hour after closing time. They run across the Umbra and locates the security office. As the lonely security guard in the building exits, John and Courrich sidesteps inside the office. John starts hacking the computer system while Courrich keeps watch. After having searched for some time, John realizes that the footage is missing. Suddenly he jumps, as his phone starts ringing (which it shouldn’t do, because nobody knows the number). He answers the call and a male voice says “Hello John. Can you find what you are looking for? Give me the three statues, and you will get it.”
John immediately starts deleting all footage fra the entire day, where you can see the pack walking around the house and the grounds. After this he crashes the system with loads of pornographic material containing several viruses. John and Courrich escapes back to the Umbra and leaves the site with the rest of the pack.

As they are going back towards London, they discover that they are being followed. They drive around for a while taking alternative routes and switching driver. After having lost their followers some miles south of London, they turn around and go back to London from a different route. They drop the car off and continues on foot, before they take a cab across the city, where they steal a random van and drives towards Stonehenge.

Entering Stonehenge they are confronted by one of the sentries. They ask to speak with the highest ranking Philodox in the Sept. Christopher, who is also the Sept Leader, joins the pack. Jeg tell him about their situation and what they already have planned to do, preparing for the worst case scenario, if the footage should go viral. Christopher will talk with the rest of the Sept in the morning, and he will later inform the pack about their decision. Until that time, the pack cannot seek help from any wolf or Garou belonging to this Sept.

At this time the pack has already jumped to the conclusion, that the person responsible for this is the vampire they have battled before, who goes by the name F.G. or Fransesco. John sends an email to an adress he knows F.G. hase used earlier, and not long after his phone rings. He can’t recognize the vice on the other end. It knows they don’t have the statues so they agree to a deal. They deliver the statues, and it delivers the footage with a guarantee that there is no other copies of this footage.

Afterwards John discovers that it wasn’t the same voice he talked to last time, when they called him at Longleat. He starts tracking the phone which just called him, and locates them about two miles south from their own location. They immediately take off in a hurry, trying to catch them.

They find them driving down a highway. Max jumps to the hood of the car, grabbles the driver through the windshield and pulls him out of the car. The car starts spinning as Max hits the asphalt rolling before it crashes. John pulls the van over and they secure the area. The passenger in the car is dead, and the driver is badly injured. Faeleas uses Mothers Touch on the driver, and saves his life. He is still unconscious. Meanwhile Max empties the car for everything of any value or relevance.

When the driver wakes up, the try to interrogate him. It seems like he doesn’t know what has happened, and most questions are answered by a frown and “i have no idea”. Suddenly it appears that his body is being possessed by something. His face goes blank and grey, his eyes turn black and his tone of voice changes as he speaks the words “You will get nothing from this man. It is nothing more than a vessel”.

Seeing this Shaira peforms a Rite of Cleansing on him. Afterwards he is still confused and lost. The send him on his way, telling him that if he ever talks to anybody about what he have experienced here tonight they will find him.

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