The primal rhythm fills the darkness; it talks of war and revenge.
A small band of friends stand against the night, and the museum hall buzzes with gathered power – Two wardens of the white council, an FBI special investigations agent, a white court vampire, plus a fledgling Valkyrie and a scion of Hephaestus ready themselves to face the bearer of the steadily pounding drum. They are tied by fate, in ways they cannot even fathom, and they are not afraid.
Malak the playboy warden quickly raises a veil for everyone to hide in, though Nick the Technomancer and Agent Blair choose to stand outside of it, flanking the gaping hole in the building's exterior. Hannah takes position atop some destroyed shelving, and Warden Kjenobi chalks a circle, gathering power for a ward.
The drumming raises to a crescendo, then stops abruptly - leaving the inky darkness potent and still. Looking out of the breach, across the small parking lot and field behind the museum, to the edge of the complex grounds into the foreboding woods, Nick sees movement.
The stillness is shattered by two huge bodies careening out of the treeline, bee-lining for our plucky band of do-gooders. Trees are flayed aside and turf ripped to ribbons as a huge bear and an even larger bison charge from the undergrowth.
"Reavers! Desecrators! Villains! No more will you trample our dignity, our history!"
The challenge flies from the lips of the neolithic Ursine behemoth. The faster of the two, the bear – which appears to be completely taken by a berserker rage – charges straight at Chris, who readies his service weapon. It suddenly seems woefully small for the day's work.
More and more bodies emerge from the treeline, as cousins fill the field behind the museum. They are eerily silent, making no sound but the crunch of grass beneath heeled boots, and the snickts and flickts of switchblades appearing like magic in their hands.
Agent Blair readies his weapon, but as the giant bear charges through the hole in the wall, Hanna Storm steps up and neatly clips the beast under the chin, the arc of her mighty hammer more neat than a professional golf swing. *KA-THOK*
A shiver runs through the bear's entire body, as his eyes roll up and he slides into the veil, limp and senseless. The great Bison skids to a stop, horror on it's face.
"how... " The cousins in the yard halt their advance, the tension in the air palpable.
"Stand down now!" Chris shouts, drawing a bead on the buffalo.
"The stench of Summer... but it is not you, not from within..."
The skinny crow cousins filling the yard hunker down unsure of which direction to face.
And a resounding BOOM of thunder reverberates through the walls, the ground, the air, the night. And another. And another. Nick begins to ask what's going on when a hellish scream pierces the air, eerie and shrill. It is answered by other shrieks, from various directions, surrounding the small yard filled with crow cousins.
"Well it's about freakin time, I was getting bored" quips Derek, un-slinging his guitar – a monstrous steel beast forged of Pure Righteousness – and steps outside. The glampire is fast, but so are the things dropping from patches of darkness onto the turf. Curled Horns over shaggy bodies, The Gruff's Hooves pull up furls of dirt as they charge the cousins, The vampire, and anyone else in sight.
The tremors continue as a battle breaks out in earnest; the strangely silent cousins engaged in mortal combat with the gruffs, Derek pirouetting from gruff to gruff – trailing quivering severed limbs and gouts of green fire behind him.
Nick yells for Merv inside, as a giant body brings down two trees, forcing its way into the courtyard. A huge elder gruff wielding a sword the size of a car fully enters the clearing, trailing devastation and property damage behind him. "Kill them all! No Quarter!" bellows the giant elder gruff, who raises his sword in an arc, and starts towards the blasted exterior of the museum.
Agent Blair takes a more offensive stance, drawing a bead on the gigantic Gruff. His service glock begins to glow with an eerie blue light, and and he fires a searing, silent bolt of energy at the steadily advancing beast. It punches a hole the size of a large man's fist in the great beast's leg, just above the reversed kneecap . The giant gruff lets out a bleating scream, just as nick lets loose with his laser pen ( which rips open a hole in the creature's shoulder, bringing it to its knees.)
Hannah tries to reason with the now very visibly panicked bison cousin, who seems to be at a complete loss as to what to do. Merv O'rourke, the unnaturally large security guard, arrives back at the ruined gallery – having heard nick's call. Seeing the carnage going on outside, an asp concealed in his duster pocket snaps to full length, and he wades into the fight.
The buffalo cousin's tongue is thick, the whites of its eyes huge, as it circles in confusion and calls for its kin. Malak, becoming a tad strained from holding the veil, drops it and steps forward - " We are here on official white council business - what reason have the Red lands mantouac to interfere with our sanctioned investigation!?" He blasts a nearby gruff with a toss of his hand. "Speak now cousin, or find yourself in a tough position!"
The Bison Bleats loudly and runs for the trees, becoming less corporeal as it goes. The other cousins follow suit, extracting themselves from dead and dying gruffs, the sick stench of scorched
goat filling the night air. Derek and Merv deftly move from gruff to gruff, dealing death in their wake.
The gigantic elder gruff reaches the breached wall and braces himself for a mighty swing. As he does so, Hannah darts between his legs, and swings her hammer in a singing arc, connecting at the already damaged knee. The steel in the hammer's alloy ignites the gruff's blood, and the leg comes off – he bellows, enraged. "Murder! Blood! No Quarter!" Shouts the maddened summer assassin, as he slams to the ground with a deafening thunder.
Behind nick, Ben gives a muffled "Ach!" and slumps to the ground, the power he was drawing snapped into his brain. Such is the fate of a wizard who reaches too far beyond his or her limits.
A few gruffs try to charge the breach and are brought down swiftly by nick and Chris, firing nearly in tandem with both cold steel bullets and magic-imbued lasers.
The final gruff outside cries out as it's skull is split by the steel of Merv's asp, and the defeated elder Gruff tries to grab and crush Hannah to death. She is too quick for him, and Malak puts an end to him by way of large fireball through the back. The charred body blocks the torn opening in the building, until merv almost casually drags it out of the way.
The team regroups, an unconscious cousin laying on the floor. The huge bear is thoroughly rattled, and cannot uncross his eyes. Hanna begins to administer first aid, in spite of the fact that the bear could maul her at any moment. Malak checks on Ben, and surprised to find that the ward he had been constructing looks to have worked – only instead of blocking the hole in the wall, seems to have warded his mind from the outside world. "This is beyond my ability to fix, without putting a sword though his head - which would fix the one problem, but cause all sorts of others..."
"Crap. This is going to cost me SO much paperwork," quips Cris, as Derek rejoins the group.
Derek stands off to the side, occasionally glancing at Hannah. His skin glows pale, and his eyes, normally quite human, are solid orbs of silver. "I need to get out of here, and soon. Very hungry."
Nick looks around, mildly nonplussed. " you guys sure know how to turn a normal scooby-do episode into night of the freakin smelly goat dead."
With a wounded manitou and warden, it is decided that they should split up, both for healing and a bite to eat. The wardens are going to head to a white council safe-house, and everyone silently agrees that it's best not to ask where Derek is headed.
"Yall don't wanna be headin out without this," says Merv, handing over a manifest of the items looted from the museum. "Near as I can figure, whoever set up this heist dudn't want their goons to know what was valuable an what wadn't.."
Agent Blair and nick go over the list. Quite a few items were stolen, including ceremonial weapons, bits of pottery, ceremonial garb, a matched pair of colt peacemakers, and a coil-woven earthen pot.
The group begins to split up and go their various ways, when a portal to the never never opens up. A familiar face greets the group, as does a familiar satchel...