The Weaver makes her play
The War of Rage claimed countless lives of Gaia’s chosen and few of the victors realized that had achieved anything less than total victory. As the End of All Songs drew closer that secret was revealed and some surviving Fera sided with the Nation that had hunted them down so long ago. Some stayed hidden and others still remained victims in the great cosmic game played by the mad members of the Triat.
The Weaver, the Designer, Grandmother Spider had made her claim on the world through her agents in Katsuguri. A merciless corporate entity awoken to celestial power who now leads her army on the fields of the Apocalypse. As victory shifts to and fro she seeks a means to claim total victory against the Wyrm, Wyld and Gaia’s defenders. And if unimpeded she may in fact win.
News of this power play is brought to the nation by a cadre of the most freakish Ratkin to have survived the modern day. Their hatred of the Garou stifled just enough to seek their help and avoid absolute annihilation. Katsuguri has enslaved the mysterious race of Werespiders known as the Ananasi and forced them to do her will. The Spiderfolk now work to perform potent works which will seal the Gauntlet forever closing off the spiritual world from the physical and starving all spirits not aligned with the Weaver to permanent death.
The Ratkin, once the alliance is accepted by a vocal majority of the present Garou demand their help. This is also seems to be their attempt at offering aid but it is extended with all the diplomacy half mad genocide survivors would be expected to comport themselves with. It seems some of the darker under bellies of Pentex hide laboratories that subjected their “patients” to horrors reminiscent of things witnessed in the most recent jaunt to Malfeas. The Ratkin assure the Garou that spirits have confirmed the prison labs are intact and some of their “Engineer” breed remain captive. They believe the best chance in stopping the Weaver lies with them.
Their quest begins in Montreal, Canada. Ratkin bolt holes and tunnels help expedite the travel but at no point do the Garou feel welcome. In fact the tension occasional spills over and small scraps break out. Cooler heads always seem to be able to intervene before any Rat or Wolf is injured too much. Banes surge through the dark places adding to the danger of the trip. The suffering and death brought on by the final days have awoke monsters who once slept centuries at a time. The ancient horrors are rebuffed by the Gaian Host but not without burying the odd Garou or Ratkin along the way.
The Host has the literally claw their way through the ice to reach the surface once they reach Montreal. The landscape is frozen over encasing huge swathes of the city in solid blocks. Between the murderous cold and the dying of the light beneath the suffocating Black Canada presents a haunting image. The Pentex facility is just another unassuming building in a forgettable block in the business district. As the Host explores the abandoned halls of the office building a blood curling screech echoes from the stairwells. The few survivors did so only because the evil pulsing through this site twisted their bodies into ravenous monsters. They are easily dispatched but it is a harrowing reminder of what is happening to the world barely hang a hold of itself.
Beyond a maze of failed security system is a forest of horrors floating dead in tubes zig zagging the place. Twisted, half formed and mutilated Fera rot around the lab. Some evoke memories of the atrocities the occurred in the War of Rage, others seem to inspire outrage anew. Finally a lone survivor is found connected to a wall through a hundred cords stabbed into its flesh. Singed hair and ozone fill the air as they approach. It is a messy affair but they disconnect him and he awakens in a frenzy. Only through the efforts of Heals-the-Heart is the cybernetic Ratkin calmed and able to introduce himself as Headcase.
It takes some time to communicate with Headcase. Thoroughly insane from what he has endured to become the thing he has. He also seems to know very little of his own kind. But revenge is clear enough to him and he is willing to help. He does not possess the depth of enmity the other Ratkin do but half his body being mechanical disconcert even the more open minded individuals. It is believed he is the best case in breaching the internal defenses of Katsuguri.
The next leg of the quest is too far for the Ratkin tunnel system to carry them. Once again the USS Theodore Roosevelt is called upon to help the Garou. The host breaks apart at this point letting the Harbringers of a Dying Mother to escort Headcase to the heart of Weaver’s earthly web. It takes just under five days but the party is delivered to the shores of North Korea safely.
The natural resources that were suffering before the Fall are now completely depleted. An artificial jungle has taken its place. A sterilized facsimile of nature presenting dangers that dizzy and confuse those who rely on their animal instincts. The faux jungle also hosts a strange mutation of vampire native to the East who seem to have thrown in their allegiance to the mad Weaver who swarm alongside materialized spider troops. It takes many blood battles to make it through and at the end Headcase is carried to threads that barricade the Gauntlet ritual.
Resistance is overwhelming and unyielding. Even with their impressive skills of stealth avoiding the gaze of the Weaver is a near impossible task. Survival requires the Garou to adopt a savage hit and run strategy. They move through the countryside which has blended elements of the sterilized land, the Cyber Realm and the Weaver’s vision of her dystopic paradise. Were spiders languish to weave barely perceptible threads of Gnosis in dizzying knots. The pack can literally feels their spirits suffocating in this place. Gaia herself is nearly transparent floating along with the pack like ghost.
Headcase seems to possess some natural intuition and helps them navigate through the maze of steel and blood. Into a castle of flawless white plastic they go cutting through demonic vampire, drone and spirit until they reach its flickering heart. Here Headcase breaks away to do something at a collection of nodes arcing energy under the precise dance of the three Anasasi spinning here. They stop in unsettling unison and observe the invaders. It is hard to read the were-spiders but to the skilled eye they seem both relieved and heart broken at their arrival.
A hypnotic show of flickering lights all glow in the same pattern around the wrists, ankles,limbs and necks of the three Anasasi. Almost as if yanked by some invisible rope they lurch at the Garou. One possesses virulent venom that invokes crippling mutations, one moves with speed and grace that make it nearly impossible to hit and its strikes nigh unavoidable and the last seems able to unweave the pack’s gifts as they call upon them. Lesser forces swarm as the battle goes on but eventually the Howl of Victory echos through the plastic castle.
Headcase busily works through out the fight interfacing with the diefic technology. Webs flash various light and even though the pack does not see it Anasasi flee as their spiritual chains are loosened. His victory is not without cost after ruining the ritual and freeing the spiders he is cooked alive through his wires. The Ratkin slumps dead, a sizzling husk of charred flesh and metal.
The Garou too suffer. Gaia looks upon the broken bodies of her children who died once again to protect her. Flickering in and out of sight as she shambles around to breath life into her dead. As the last garou rises again she becomes solid…and topples over dead. A corpse of stone, soil and plant life striking against the lifelessness of all the Weaver has wrought here.
As the Garou howl and mourn a deafening screech cuts through the air. Wind kicks up dust and debris as a familiar spirit once again reforms to land upon the body of Gaia. Owl has returned. Both to carry Gaia to that next place and guide the pack to their last day. A circle now complete.
Victory but not without cost.