The Ashbury Investigation, Part 1
Mysterious crop circles and missing people drawn the Pack to the town of Ashbury

The Pack are contacted by Sebastian Lowe of the Venatori, who tasks them with investigating recent mysterious events in the town of Ashbury, including strange crop circles and disappearances.

The Pack travel to Ashbury and buy some newspapers, from which they assemble a list of local missing people. They notice that the local tabloids are awash with stories of UFOs, ghosts, vampires and other speculation.

Missing people:
Jack Whitley – homeless, bit of a local nuisance, not been seen for about 7 weeks.

Daniel Thorpe – alcoholic and gambler, spent his inheritance on bad business ventures, went missing about 3 weeks ago, last seen wandering drunk towards the downs.

Melanie Penn – twenty-something last seen having a row with her boyfriend in the street before storming off. Was quite new to the area, has no local family. Her car is still in the drive, and she doesn’t seem to have packed. She hasn’t attended her part-time nursery job in the last 2 weeks.

Prudence Shavorn – fierce 80-year-old granny, vanished about 10 days ago. Lots of family in the area, all worried.

Justin Garret – antiquarian & historian in his early 60s, semi-retired academic, worked at the national trust visitor centre for the Uffington White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy. Vanished about 7 days ago.

They travel into the hills (chalk downs) in the direction of the jellyfish crop circle, and Vellum pulls over at a nearby ruin (his family home – but the rest of the pack are unaware of this).
The PCs investigate the burn-out manor house, sensing its resonance of old mysteries and fire (small darkling and glimmerling spirits skitter about). Lewis finds an old microphone transmitter, and tunes himself into the signal with magic, but senses nothing.
Vellum finds a hidden trapdoor and leads downstairs as Summer questions him about his past realising that this place was once his home.
In the basement tunnels, they find various relics of the Grey family that have survived the fire, including (in a secret alcove) a dusty journal and a tome of genealogy. Lewis also finds a black stone about the size of flattened tennis ball, carved with a stylised tree (the branches of which resemble a bat).

They briefly drive to some of the crop circles, and Vellum theorises that they are in some way connected to weak spots in reality. However, dust begins to fall and the pack decide to go back to town, resolving to return and investigate the circles tomorrow in daylight.

Back in town, the pack rent a room and speak to some locals, filling in details of the recent disappearances.
Vellum begins translating the books (which are in code), and determines that the journal was written by several generations of Greys, most recently his parents.
The genealogical works were mostly conducted by his great-grandfather, William Grey. Interestingly, they seem to track not only the grey family, but other local bloodlines.

From his initial work translating the journal, Vellum discovers that his ancestors were founding members of the Society of the Winding Path, back in the latter half of the 18th century. They were an offshoot of the Masons; founded as a secret order of natural philosophers dedicated to unlocking the sublime mathematical secrets of the mystical realms.
Over time, however, the order’s aims seem to have drifted. The Grey family were still prominent members of the order, and it is likely that they did many dark and questionable things in the name of the science and the empire. In the early 20th century the Grey family (headed by Vellum’s grandfather, Nathaniel) seem to have become less prominent in the order (it is unclear whether this was a deliberate distancing on the part of Nathaniel, or whether other factions politicking within the order caused them to loose status; probably mostly the former). During this time, the Winding Path continued to darken, now existing as a cult rather then an order of philosophers. By Nathaniel’s death, the Grey family were on the very periphery of the society.
Vellum’s parents were opposed to the Winding Path. They felt that the Grey family name had been blackened by past deeds, and they wanted their true legacy to be the destruction of the Winding Path (or at least the corrupted elements within it).
They set out to discover what they could about the secretive past of the Winding Path, and determined that it seemed to have been subverted in the Victorian era.
[This is as far as Vellum has got which the translation of the books so far, more information may come to light as he completes the translation]

Summer and Lewis head to the pub and talk to the locals about the missing people, crop circles, and strange rumours. They meet a young man named Robin Elmholme, who turns out to be a bit of a paranoid conspiracy theorist, distressed by the disappearance of his friend Justin Garret (the antiquarian).
Lewis questions Robin, building up a rapport, and gives him a business card in case he thinks of any relevant information. Summer summons a cat spirit called She-Who-Slinks-In-Shadowed-Paths to follow watch over Robin.

Unexpectedly, Detective Inspector Jennifer Warding walks into the bar. Lewis talks to her (joined a short while later by Summer), and it transpires (once her initial suspicious hostility has passed) that she is in town looking for he cousin. It seems that Beatrix (“Trixy”) Ford hasn’t been seen in 3 days. Jennifer explains that although Trixy has some history of metal health problems (depression and occasional hallucinations), her instincts tell her that she wouldn’t just vanish like this. DI Warding suspects that something strange is going on, and has taken a short leave from work to come and unofficially investigate the case.

Back at the Inn, Vellum notices strange lights in the sky over the hills (which he suspects may be caused by energies form another world bleeding into this one), and has a conversation with a local business woman named Caroline Thyme (but learns nothing about the disappearances from her that he didn’t already know).

The next day Summer and Lewis investigate the graveyard (where rumour has it ghosts and vampires have been seen lurking). They summon up the spirit of the guardian of the graveyard, which tells of its distaste for the young vampires that have appeared in town over the last few weeks.

Vellum heads up onto the downs and begins using magic (primarily the time arcana), to determine what has been happening. His visions show figures walking over the downs, entering into a crag nearby. Vellum is able to determine that one of the figures matches the description of Jack Whitley.

Lewis senses something strange from the hills, and realises that the lingering after-effects of the spell that he cast upon himself yesterday are allowing him to detect a certain frequency of radio transmission. The buzzing sensation seems to he moving through the downs, and Lewis and Summer decide to pursue it.

The pack meet up inside the mouth of a cave network called the Howling Crags. A short distance inside the tunnels, they find the corpse of a man. Summer determines that it is several weeks old, and notices vampire-bite wounds.
At the same time, Lewis realises that the buzzing radio transmission that he has been sensing is coming from within the cave, and they realise that Vellum has been bugged – someone has slipped a tiny device into his pocket.
Suddenly Summer’s danger sense flares, and the pack become aware that figures are surrounding them in the shadows.

Lies to Cops and Urban Exploration
Inverviews with police and exploration of derelict buildings

Denton researches the works of Simon Ellesworth, discovers career history, and has a hunch about patterns. He calls Vellum to sound out his feelings on a possible occult angle.

Lewis and Summer are interviewed by DI Warding; they stick to their cover story, but Warding doesn’t really buy it (and she asks for more off the record).
They see Merrick politely but firmly stalling the police, and and then mustering lawyers to prevent his premises being searched without a warrant

Vellum chats to Taylor and drops him off in North London

Vellum and Denton head to the nearest Burgess building on the way back to the Alydwych office.
They discover odd energy flows; they also notice strange piles of dust & rubble.
Investigating a central crawlspace, they climb down to the basement and find a small box (charged with interesting energy).
They also encounter a beshilu rat and a security guard.

Winding Persuit to a Business Park
the Pack chase and face the Winding Path cult

Vellum Grey completes the spell that converts the blood on this clothing to dust, and emerges from the underpass brushing himself off. He catches sight of Taylor and Zack, who are backing away from the huddle of concerned citizens that is forming on the street outside the hotel where Summer was shoved into the van. Vellum shadows Taylor and Zack down an alleyway, blending into the crowd and looking unobtrusive just as they are trying to. Catching sight of Zack properly for the first time, Vellum recognises him from his time-vision, which had revealed a figure looking very much like Zack switching the statue and scrolls over at the airport. Once out the of the earshot of onlookers, Vellum strides forwards briskly and calls out “Excuse me, I’d like a work with the two of you”.

Denton Vines stalks away, shaking his head to clear the rage of the gauru form from his thoughts. He reaches the corner of the roof and scans the streets, his city-slicker eyes taking in the escaping van, the panicked convention-goers, the crowd forming outside the hotel, and the distant sound of sirens. He also sees Winterblack stride out of the convention centre to the steps outside, where powerful and mysterious financier stands weighing up events. Denton thinks for a moment, then mutters something and and leaps to the roof of the next building. He lands and drops into a commando roll to absorb the impact, and then parkours away at high speed.

“Where are you go… Oh, never mind,” Lewis says the retreating form of Denton, with a sigh. He budding gumshoe spirit walker crouches at the edge of the roof, keeping down to avoid being seen. He sees Vellum emerging from the underpass and also spots the dark van speeding away. A suspicion forming in his mind, he whips out his phone and takes a picture of the van as it drives away, and then calls Summer’s number. As the phone rings, Lewis glances around the rooftop thinking quickly. When there is no answer, he sprints to the roof-access door, takes a moment to assess it, and with a single thump to just the right stop he pops the lock and enters. Ducking into the shadows he quickly switches his bloodied jacket with the one in his briefcase, takes a deep breath, and calls Detective Inspector Jennifer Warding.

Summer, currently shifted into her mighty dire-wolf form, cows and intimidates the tied-up Winding Path cultists, batting them with her huge paws as they are hit with waves of lunacy. She shifts back to human form and checks the knots tying the cultists (though they sit quietly, afraid to be seen straining to escape their bonds). Questioning them, Summer is able to confirm that they are indeed being driven to the main winding path safehouse in London.

Vellum questions Taylor about what happened on the street, explaining that he is a friend of Summer. He also tells Zack that he has some questions to ask about the statue and the scrolls. This puts the two Americans on their guard, and Taylor casually puts a couple more paces between himself and Vellum, shifting posture to defend himself if necessary. After a few tense moments, Vellum is able to assuage Taylor’s concerns somewhat by answering questions about Summer; her full name, habits, and (cover) story. Whilst not entirely convinced (and certainly not willing to put the entirety of their trust in Vellum, Taylor and Zack agree to come with him to try and rescue Summer, and to answer a few of his questions on the way. Vellum marches off towards his van, and his two cautions allies follow.

Lewis explains to DI Warding that he has just witnessed a kindnapping and is in hot persuit of the perpetrators. He furnishes her with what details he can from the scene (including the location, a general description of Summer, and the first few digits of the Van’s numberplate). Warding warns him that she would much rather he stay at the scene, but concedes that she can’t make him.
Ending the call, Lewis vaults onto the stairwell and sprints down the building at top speed. Adrenaline pounding as he races after his quarry to rescue his pack-mate, Lewis races down the stairs two at a time and emerges in the street next to the convection centre. He tears through the car park, sliding his battered and bloodied briefcase under Vellum’s van as he charges past, and hauls himself over the wall at the end. By taking this diagonal route and cutting off most of the block, Lewis arrives on the road just seconds after the van drives past. he continues in hot pursuit, a man on foot against a van weaving through London traffic.

The van containing Summer pulls up and stops, accompanied by the crunch of tyres on gravel. The driver’s door opens, and someone bangs on the side of the van to signal that they have arrived.
Summer warns her captives to stay quiet, and silently creeps over to the door. After several seconds of silence, the driver calls out “Come on you lot, get a move on”. When there is no response, he falls silent.
Summer braces herself, and seconds later the door opens, to reveal the driver holding a pistol.
“What the hell… Put you hands up and back away!”, the driver demands in shock and rising anger. “What the hell happened here?!”
“I… I don’t know”, replies Summer, attempting to affect a confused and frightened visage.
“She’s a werewolf!” pipes up one of the cultists.
The driver promptly ignores this comment, keeping his eyes on Summer. “Get down on your knees”, he demands.
Summer steps backwards and slowly drops into a crouch, trying to look non-threatening. The driver reaches across to open the other door of the van, and then takes a step inside, leaning over to reach the ropes binding his collegues.
Summer sees her moment, and takes advantage of his momentarily divined attention and awkward position. In a surge of supernatural power she explodes into dire-wolf form and uses a burst of celerity to leap behind the driver and knocks him to the ground, causing him pistol to skitter out of his hand and come to a holt a couple of feet away,

Vellum drives through a business park, following the directions given by the cultist he terrified earlier, and spots a somewhat out of breath Lewis jogging in the same direction.
Taylor opens the door on Vellum’s instruction, and Lewis jumps and hauls himself into the moving van. After Vellum briefly makes introductions, Lewis explains the he chased the van down to this business park before loosing it. He had just caught sight of it though the trees before Vellum drove past, and so had sent a text message to DI warding and rushed towards the grounds where the van is parked.
Vellum pulls up at the edge of the converted mansion on the periphery the business park, within sight to the van that Summer was hauled into. Taylor reluctantly agrees that his isn’t in great shape for a fight (and wouldn’t be keen on hanging around for the police to show up), and moves over into the drivers seat, agreeing to drive a short distance away and wait as a get-away vehicle (Lewis gives him a business card with their contact details). Lewis and Vellum run up to the van, keeping their footfalls light.

Summer slams a paw into the driver, and attempts to pin him with her weight. He strains and wriggles, partially freeing himself as the wolf on top of him shifts her weight. he throws his warm forward, just inches from his weapon, but Summer simply pounces forward, her front paws landing on him with all of her weight, knocking the wind out of him. He swears, and Summer suddenly perceives a surge of strange energy is this aura as the attempts to warp space. His body becomes somewhat cephalopod-like his rubs shifting like the legs of a centipede and his fingers stretching and trashing tentacle-like. Just as the tips of him fingers touch the gun, Summer bats it away with a paw. The writhing cultist throws her off, buy Summer calls on vigour, and slams him with all her might, pinning him down and knocking his head head on the floor. She leans forward until her massive jaws and just inches away from the faces of the beaten and terrified cultist, and roars in his face. Then she head-buts him into unconsciousness.

Lewis and Vellum approach the shaking van from different directions, Lewis heading to the driver’s door whilst Vellum closes in from behind. Lewis takes the keys out of the ignition, and throws them under the seat. Vellum arrives at the van just as one on the cultist wriggle free of his bonds. He runs from the wolf, sees Vellum Grey too late, and is KO’ed in a single perfect blow from Vellum’s staff as he tries to octopus-dodge away.
“This is why you shouldn’t mess with native American skin-changer shamans”, bluff Lewis with a grin, rounding the corner and starring at the cultists.

“Excuse me, but I think that is probably quite enough”, comes a friendly a paternal voice from behind them.
The pack turn to see a middle-aged gentleman who looks like a friendly country vicar, flanked by two man holding rifles.

“There appears to have been some kind of misunderstanding here”, says the man, apparently the leader. “My name is Merrick Summerglade. I don’t believe that we have been introduced… well, not all of us anyway” he adds as he glances at Vellum.
“Where is the statue?” demands Vellum
“I see, is that what you are after? well, let me think… Yes, you can certainly have it… in exchange for leaving quietly and not causing any more trouble”.
“You’re people where they ones who started this. You kidnapped Summer”, says Lewis, grimly.
“An unfortunate and regrettable misunderstanding, I assure you”, replies Merrick, and a polite tone. “My men though that you had something that belonged to us… clearly we were mistaken. I apologise. Ah, this will perhaps help make amends”, a follower appears in view and hands Merrick a statuette. “You will agree to leave my property in exchange for the statue?”
Lewis nods slightly, and Summer growls quietly.
“Are the contents intact?” demands Vellum, his fingers twitching as he covertly jinxes the gun of Merrick’s nearest bodyguard.
“Of course, we have no interest in such things”, replies Merrick, “I’m surprised at you, Mr Grey”.
Vellum unfurls his hands in an a quick gesture, and after a struggle lasting for a fraction of a second the statue appears in his grasp.
“Really Mr Grey, it is rude of snatch”, snaps Merrick, his eyes narrowing, “Didn’t your parents teach you that?”

The sounds of sirens in the distance filter into the scene.
“Oh, how very vexing. No it seems that I will have to have a discussion which the constables. It is quite unessesary and inconsiderate of you to bring them into this”, says Merrick tutting and looking most put out. “I think that you should all leave my property right now, please. Good day to you.” Merrick turns and begins walking away, and the pack edge towards the gate of the compound.

Fracas Outside the Convention Centre
the winding path bite off more than they can chew

Vellum – jumped by cultist with a blade (“Grey!”), backs off whilst utilising space magic

Summer – is surrounded by cultists, they demand that she comes quietly, and then rush her; because there are innocent onlookers (including Taylor) she doesn’t put up an inhuman struggle

Lewis & Denton – Denton is sucker-punched, Lewis weathers a surprise kick from the cultist behind
the door

Vellum – path guy fails spectacularly thanks to Vellum’s powerful spatial counter-spell, Vellum
counterattacks and curb-stomps

Summer – Summer is bundled into the Van as Taylor rushes out of the hotel and puts up what fight he can against her kidnappers (hampered by his injuries)

Lewis & Denton – Denton kinetically enhances his briefcase, the cultist grabs Lewis and demands
to know where the brief case is, but Lewis brings his street fighting skills to bear and pummels his adversary, slamming him backwards nest to a skip

Vellum – is suddenly assaulted by a skilled cultist out of the shadows, whose space-warping
resonance is stronger than that of the others. He makes a lethal strike to Vellum’s neck, burying his rune-covered blade into Vellum’s spine and dropping him to the ground.

Summer – the last cultist lands a lucky punch on Taylor’s gunshot wound, and jumps into the van
slamming the door behind him. As the van pulls away Summer stops struggling and grins in the
darkness as she works a buff spell.

Lewis & Denton – Lewis throws his enemy into the skip, slamming the lid down and closing the latch.
Two more Winding Path cultists appear in the foggy alleyway and charge at Denton out of nowhere,
flanking him and scoring two deep hits with their knives. The sudden pain causes fury to rise up
within Denton, and he shifts into Gauru form, loosing control and clubbing the nearest enemy with the case before throwing it at another.

Vellum – reflexively burning as much essence as his enhanced gnosis will allow, Vellum awakes
and pours essence into an enhanced version of his pick-pocketing spell, stealing the blade from his enemy.

Summer – the Winding Path cultists begin their attempt to interrogate Summer, but it does not go
as expected since she seems to be not in the least afraid. The reason for this becomes clear when
summer switches to dire-wolf form.

Lewis & Denton – as the cultists flee in lunacy-induced panic, Denton howls a battle-cry and charges towards another cultist. Lewis scrambles but a fire-escape ladder and throws a plant-pot down on the raging gauru to get his attention before he chases the remaining cultist into a busy street. The gambit works, and Denton chases Lewis instead.

Vellum – terrified by the fact that their enemy is healing himself in seconds of what should have been a crippling and near-fatal blow (and in the same breath magically stealing a weapon), the cultists flee.
The more powerful sprints away safely, but his colleague (still jinxed from Vellum’s spell) trips on the stairs. Vellum stalks over, picks him up by the scruff of his neck and pins him to a wall. Vellum terrifies the cultist, and the trembling man agrees to Vellum’s threats that he should leave London and head directly to Scotland well out of Vellum’s way (because if they were to meet again, things will not be pleasant…).
Vellum casts a life and matter spell to clean up the blood, and pulls up the collar of his coat to conceal his still-healing wounds as he leaves the underpass.

Summer – in dire-wolf form, Summer bats around and intimidates her kidnappers, leaving them
bruised and cowed. She tires them up and begins questioning them, determining that they had assumed that she and her companions where at the convention to deliver the scrolls to Winterblack, and that they saw this as their last chance to acquire them.

Denton & Lewis – Lewis races away pumping essence into celerity; but Denton is powered by the
speed and rage of his battle-form and is skilled at parkour and chased in urban environments. Lewis makes in up the ladder and across the roof, but Denton closes in on him. At the last moment, the human side of Denton makes a focused effort, and regains full control, shifting into human form.

An Unexpected Seminar
The pack divest themselves of the scrolls and the Chad, and attend a convention

Re-united at their office, the pack discuss the night’s events. Lewis describes the demonic aspects of the vamp, whilst throwing up ash and charcoal as his body purges itself of its malignant energies. Summer slumps next to him and examines her wounds, causing Denton to spray his hot chocolate.
“Does silver normally hurt this much?” she asks, wincing.
“Indeed, it would appear that the popular myths about silver are quite correct”, says Vellum, entering the room carrying the scrolls. “After I first trasformed, I conducted some experiments to ascertain the truth of the matter. The results were …unpleasant. I shall not be conducting that experiment again.”
“You did what?!”
“The wounds will heal eventually. In the meantime, I recommend bonjella – it is an effecting numbing agent”, continues Vellum, unperturbed by the shocked stares from his pack-mates.

Summer takes out the blade that inflicted her injuries and the pack discuss what do do with it. Summer wants it destroyed, Vellum favours giving it to a museum or keeping it stashed away incase it becomes useful, Lewis suggests that it could be useful as crimage for a spirit and Denton advocates concealing it within the Trod (the extra-dimensional pathway in the tunnels under their lair which links to Colorado). Until a consensus is reached, it is hidden in the freezer.

Vellum heads up to his rooms and copies the scrolls, taking several photographs of each one to ensure that he has every detail recorded.

Lewis selects one of his suits and takes it to Chad the ghoul, along with a bucket of hot water, soap and a sponge. Their ‘guest’ is jittery and mildly feverous, suffering from vitae withdrawal. Lewis explains to him that his previous patron was tainted by a demon-spirit and has been destroyed. He also instructs Chad to clean himself up and don the suit, as he is going out to the Velvet Gown. Chad perks up considerably at the prospect of a new source of vitae and an opportunity to be out of his cell and into a nightclub.

Denton finds it difficult to sleep with the buzz of Lila’s vitae still running through him and decides to do some research on Rupert Winterblack. Internet searching just reveals the he runs an influential finance company so he sends some requests to his contacts at Network Zero.

Summer is kept awake with worry for the safety of her friend Taylor and so decides to perform a spell in an attempt to decern whether he is OK. She lights a candle and stares into the smoke, meditating on a picture of Taylor. Her divination shows her that Taylor is wounded but not in mortal danger, and indicates that he is holed up in a hotel with someone (probably Zack).

Once the documents are safely copied, Vellum attempts an arcane working based upon his research in to the mysteries of chronomancy. Staring into the recent history of the scrolls, he sees that when they arrived in London a few days ago they were switched with an object that was in a virtually identical storage case (blurry and indistinct in the vision, but probably the statue). The figure who conducted the switch was also blurry but Vellum was able to determine that he had dark hair and a tanned completion and that he seemed hurried and somewhat panicked.

Lewis heads to club with Chad and is greeted by Terrence on arrival. They are ushered through to see Lucinda and Lewis introduces Chad to her. The head of the Camarilla greets Chad warmly (and Lewis suspects that she also uses a subtle influence on the jittery ghoul to relax him). Once Chad is out the way, Lewis explains that the ghoul’s previous ‘patrons’ were subordinates of Lucinda’s who seem to have been hosts to demonic spirits, and who are now no more. He also says that one of them claimed to have been sired by ‘Victor Chastain’, a name which provokes a flicker of reaction from Lucinda; before she smoothly covers her reaction with a poker-face, Lewis glimpses an expressiion of hatred at the mention of that name.

The next morning Vellum phones Phillip Travers and arranges to meet at one of the reading rooms of the British library. A couple of hours later they both arrive and greet each other nonchalantly and Vellum hands Travers a case containing the scroll, which pleases and impresses the Watcher considerably.

Denton wakes and as soon as his early-morning cigarette has revived his senses he logs on to his PC and checks the responses from his Network-Zero contacts. It seems that the word in conspiracy-theory circles is that Winterblack belongs to a group called the Wren Masons, who are associated with geometry, mathematics, architecture and geology. The group is apparently similar to the stonemasons, but focus on achieving power through secrets hidden in the architectural works of Christopher Wren and other enlightened architects.
Remembering that there is currently an architectural convention being held in the city, Denton decides to infiltrate it in the hopes of finding a connection.
He quickly usurps the identity of Professor Anthony Warwick from the University of Reading, hacks the convention guest list, bluffs the organiser in to believing that he is a prestigious speaker and arranges to give a seminar later that morning, and finally plagiaries a thesis on echoes of socialism in modern architecture to present.

Once she has fortified herself with Vellum’s bacon, Summer rings Taylor. He says that he is fine, and puts off her requests to meet, bluffing (unconvincingly) that he is too busy. Her sharp ears pick out the name of the hotel as in it uttered in the background by a receptionist answering the phone however. After a few moments of deliberating, she resolves to track down the hotel.

Denton explains his plan to Lewis as he dashes out of the office, and Lewis follows him (since his experience of the convention yesterday could be very useful).

Meanwhile, Vellum is instructed by his boss Helen McCannick to go in her place to observe a seminar as the British Library’s representative at the architecture convention, following ‘some last minute changes to her schedule’.

As they arrive at the convention, Denton suddenly realises that the academic whose thesis he is going to read is on the guest list. Lewis steps in and manages to bluff the academic in to sitting with him to discuss various architectural principles that he learned about from Simon Ellesworth, diverting the professor from entering the seminar room.

Denton walks onto the stage and gives lecture that is surprisingly full of academic flair. Throwing in ideas as diverse and the influence of Ann Rand (‘Randyism’, leading to ‘Randy building designs’), Simon Ellesworth, and various mathematical jargon about the golden ratio and vesica piscis; he somehow manages to convince that audience that his ideas are fresh and revolutionary (to the bemusement of Vellum).

As they mingle after the lecture, Vellum and Lewis spot Winterblack as he heads into a meeting with various construction financiers.
Denton falls into discussion with one of this new academic fans, who leads him out of a side door of the convection centre towards a cafe that apparently sells excellent sandwiches.
At the same time, Summer arrives outside; by coincidence, the hotel in which Taylor is staying is opposite the convention centre.

At this point several things happen in quick succession:
A black van pulls up on the street next to Summer
Vellum leaves the building and turns down a side-street, taking the fastest route back to the Library
Lewis notices that several figures in the crowd are in fact winding path cultists from the previous night; he hastily writes out a warning message for Winterblack, and passes it to one of Winterblack’s aides
Summer glimpses Taylor crossing the lobby of the hotel towards the door, followed by Zack
Lewis calls a warning to Denton via his ear-piece, and leaves the bulding via a fire-escape into a alleyway
The doors of the black van open, and Summer suddenly finds herself cornered by winding path followers
The man leaving the building with Denton suddenly swings a punch at him

An Eventful Trip Home
Car chases, watchers and demonic vampires

Following the events at the station, the pack leaves separately:

(please add/correct as necessary as I’m sure I haven’t covered everything)

On his way home, Denton passes the Velvet Gown nightclub and is suddenly overcome by a strong urge to go inside. The club is busy and the music is loud but his keen senses quickly pick Lila out of the crowd and he goes over to her. She seems pleased to see him and leads him to a side room where they can talk in private. They exchange information and blood. Denton learns that both Lila and Thomas Devian are part of a group plotting to overthrow Lucinda. Denton gives the impression that he wants to help and she shares more information.

After tailing Philip Travers’s car from the station, Vellum comes to a stop down a quiet alleyway. He gets out of his van, making doubly sure it’s locked before stepping carefully down the alley. As he reaches a shadowed doorway, he spots Philip lying in wait for him. However, he just wishes to talk. He tells Vellum he is part of an organisation called the Watchers (like hunters but less hands-on) whose goal is to learn all they can about the supernatural and hints that he has suspicions about what Vellum is. Vellum sees that Philip is being honest and decides to tell him about the Venatori, confirming some suspicions and refuting others. They both recognise that they have shared interests and agree to be allies rather than rivals.

Lewis is the first to arrive home and while waiting for the rest of the pack, decides to try interrogating the vampire currently imprisoned in Vellum’s lab. The lab door is locked but Lewis quickly finds the spare key and goes in. The vampire lies unmoving on a large wooden table in the centre of the room, secured by thick, leather straps. Nails have been hammered directly through his wrists and into the table and a wooden stake is sticking out of the vampire’s chest. Navigating carefully around the bookcases and strange apparatus to reach the table, Lewis draws his gun and aims it at the vampire with one hand while gripping the stake with the other. He gives a tug on the stake, not removing it completely, and the vampire begins to stir. Lewis gets a small amount of information from him but quickly replaces the stake when he notices the vampire trying to use some kind of blood magic. Preparing himself, Lewis removes the stake once again and tries to get the vampire to talk. The way he speaks suggests he belongs to a cult; he mentions serving a master and reveals that he is aware of the spirit within him, claiming that it is a demon that will make him stronger. The vampire suddenly turns even paler than before, indicating that he’s just invoked some powerful blood magic. Lewis shoots but is caught off guard by the vampire’s speed and he breaks out of his bonds almost effortlessly, forcing Lewis to turn into Gauru form to stop him. The ensuing fight is bloody and brutal but fairly brief once Lewis gains the upper hand. Denton then arrives and is surprised when he recognises the sound of Lewis roaring. Thinking something must be wrong for the usually restrained werewolf to have taken War form, Denton goes for the golf club kept handily in the umbrella stand but misses, grabbing an umbrella instead. Not wanting to stop, he continues, reaching the lab just in time to spear the vampire with the umbrella and stop Lewis from going into death rage. Vellum arrives shortly after and is dismayed to find his lab in ruins and his main experiment turned to dust. However, he cheers up significantly once Lewis tells him the nature of the spirit that possessed it.

After successfully obtaining the briefcase, Summer carefully stashes it in her backpack and starts walking home. Only a few minutes later, the quiet of the deserted street is broken by the sound of screeching tyres as a red car speeds past her. Summer is surprised to see that the driver is none other than Taylor with Zack Chase ducking down in the backseat. Not far behind, another car tears round the corner in pursuit of the first. There are two men in the second car. The driver aims a silenced pistol out the side window and fires at Taylor and Zack. There is a splatter of blood and the bullet goes through the red car’s windscreen but the occupants aren’t badly hurt and they speed on. Worried for her friend, Summer dives into a nearby alley and transforms into Urhan. She quickly tastes the blood on the road (for a tracking aid) and takes off after the cars, praying that any onlookers mistake her for a big dog. Celerity gives her the extra speed she needs and she quickly catches up to the pursuing car. The driver’s arm is still out the window so she latches on, knocking the gun out of the man’s hand and forcing herself through the open window. He cries out in surprise and pain and tries to shake her off him. Summer obliges and leaps onto the man in the back seat who is loading a shotgun. As she bites into him, she immediately becomes aware that he is vampire – which means the driver probably is too. She turns around but it’s too late and the driver plunges a silver knife into Summer’s side. This being her first experience with silver, Summer is shocked by the level of pain it causes. Her inner beast screams within her and she embraces it, turning into Gauru. In a furious whirl of teeth and claws, the vampires are no more. It is at this point that the car crashes into the front of an upmarket clothes shop. Dazed and bleeding, Summer pulls herself out of the mass of broken glass, ruined clothes and car wreckage, already hearing police sirens. Trusting the effects of Lunacy to protect her from any security cameras, Summer takes a moment in Dalu form to steady herself before quickly fleeing the scene.

An Eventful Walk Home (Redux)
Car chases, watchers and demonic vampires

Vellum follows the dark blue Renault Laguna driven by Phillip Travers away from the train station.
Travers drives in a somewhat evasive fashion, taking a convoluted route as if to throw off pursuers, but Vellum managers to stay on his trail.
After about twenty minutes, Travers drives into a quite part of town and turns into an alleyway.

Summer walks home across town, enjoying the night air. Suddenly the peace of her walk is shattered by the roar of a car rounding a corner and high speed, closely followed by a pursuer.
Summer’s sharp eyes catch sight of the occupants of the leading car – the driver is her friend Taylor, and ducking down in the back seat is Zack Chase.
The reason for the crouched posture of the passenger is made clear moments later, the muffled thump of a silenced pistol rings out from the pursuing car, and grazes Taylor, splattering the road next to Summer with flecks of her friend’s blood.

Lewis walks a few streets away from the station where he got off of the train, and then hails a taxi. He gets back to the Hunter and Lickter offices without any problems.
Once back, he breaths a sigh of relief and quickly hides the scrolls the Vellum’s library (behind the books about vampires).

Denton heads to the Velvet gown nightclub, seeking to slake the strange hunger rising inside him with the company of Lila, the vampire whose blood he has shared.
He stalks though the crowed club, and makes his way across the dance-floor to the bar, when he spots his prey. He throws a pickup line at her and then takes her arm and leads her away to the back rooms.

Vellum follows Travers’ car into the alleyway and parks up a short distance behind it. Vellum gets out and advances cautiously. He casts life-sense as a precaution, and a sure enough he detects a presence lurking in a doorway a few paces away rather then in the car.
Vellum takes a few paces towards the doorway and greets the shadowy figure.

Summer crouches down to get out of the way of the shooting, and dips her hand into the blood splatters; then she dives into an alleyway, as if running from the danger, and licks her fingers to lock on to Taylor’s scent. Once out of sight, Summer instantly shifts into wolf form, reflexively activating celerity and launching herself after the cars as they accelerate away.

Lewis summons Pedragon, and repays him with a small measure of essence for guarding Chad and the offices in the absence of the Pack. The two then discuss the upcoming battles that Lewis is likely to face against the vampires, and Pendragon advises him that the wise and just act is to strike quickly and decisively against evil, lest corruption spread and ‘destroy Camelot’.
With the warning of Pendragon on his mind, Lewis raises spirit sight and scrutinises the offices. He observes quite a lot of negative resonance around the secure holding room in which they keep Chad (and various prisoners before him); the Shadow there is gradually becoming flavoured with fear, as could be expected. Lewis also observes that a miasma of malefic and evil resonance is emanating from the vampire nailed to the table is Vellum’s lab.
Steeling himself, Lewis returns to his room and grabs his pistol from the drawer in which he keeps it, before turning around and heading towards the lab.

Alone together in a quite rooms, Denton and Lila begin skillfully crossing verbal blades; Denton seeking to learn more about Lila, and the vampire seductress attempting to recruit Denton to her side.
In the posturing and persuading that follows, Denton learns that Lila belongs to a faction that is seeking to weaken Lucinda’s power within the Camarila, with a view to overthrowing her. He also ostensibly agrees to help her.
After drinking a measure to of Lila’s vitae, Denton leaves, and heads back to the office.

Travers stares at Vellum for a moment, pointing a pistol at the werewolf librarian through the pocket of his tweed jacket. There is a standoff and long moments pass before both sides relax slightly, seeing then neither is keen to attack the other. Travers asks why Vellum has followed him, Vellum counters by asking what Travers seems to have been following him – bumping into him at work, he car being seen at placed where Vellum had private business etc.
Conceding that there is nothing further to be gained by pretending that they are both just normal academics, Travers explains that he is a member of an organisation known as the Watchers, who investigate (and sometimes combat) supernatural events and threats within the city. Vellum confirms Travers’ suspicion that he is a werewolf. The two of them begin cautiously exchanging information.

Summer chases after the pursuing car, rapidly gaining ground on it thanks to her superior manoeuvrability and celerity-enhanced speed. As the Asian man driving the car takes aim to send another shot at Taylor, Summer jumps and and bites him arm, causing him to drop the gun. Realising from the taste of his blood the the driver is a vampire, she calls upon a burst of power to leap into the car and then begins savaging the driver.

Lewis grimly advanced on the vampire secured in the lab, levels his pistol at it and then gradually removes the stake part way, causing the vampire to re-animate. As the creature curses and struggles against its restraints, Lewis offers him an ultimatum: answer questions cooperatively, and get a quick and painless death. The vampire simply laughs, saying that he worships as dark god who will soon return and destroy all who oppose him; then he and locks gazes with Lewis and his eyes begin to glow a hypnotic red.
Lewis struggles against mind-controlling influence of the vampire, and in the battle of wills he just manages to throw off the effects, allowing him to shoot the monster.
However, the vampire has activated his dark powers and begins to strain against the nails and straps restraining him with enough force to begin breaking them. His thrashing and mental influence throw off Lewis’s aim, and his wounds begin to heal.
Lewis braces himself to drive the stake back into the vampire, but suddenly the wood combusts in his hands. With a roar and a burst of strength, the vampire strikes Lewis and sends him staggering backwards, gun and stake clattering to the ground.
Lewis frees himself from the last of his adversary’s psychic influence and as rage that the evil creature in front of him dare attack his mind raises within him, the werewolf detective calls upon the dangerous and devastating power of his gauru war-form.
The vampire shakes himself loose of the broken remains of the table and taunts Lewis, claiming that he was sired by Victor Chastain, and demonic power within him would defeat this upstart dog.

Travers explains to Vellum that the Watchers observed the Pack’s interactions with the Bloomsbury Cabal (who they are planning to approach and recruit), and that they are concerned about the rise of a faction of vampires who they call ‘the Devil’s Children’, who they believe are somehow connected to the flood of the ‘Vision’ drug in the city. Travers also mentions that he is seeking the scrolls and the statue, and that he has measures in place to protect them that should they find their way to the British Library or the British Museum.
Vellum informs Travers that vision is made from vampire blood, and that the Venatori are trying to stamp out the supply of vision and that they are also investigating disappearances that seem connected to the vampires of the city.
The two of them form a tentative alliance, agreeing to exchange information pertinent to their shared goals.

Having disarmed and injured the driver, Summer switches to dire-wolf form and pounces onto the vampire in the back of the car before he can bring his shotgun to bear on her. She attacks ferociously, but suddenly howls in burning agony as the driver plunges a silver dagger into her side.
Riding the torrent of pain a rage to bursts forth inside her, Summer switches to gauru form and battles the two vampires with the full force of a Blood-Talon’s fury, slashing and them with her claws and devouring chunks of them.

Denton arrives back at the office, and over the music in his earphones he hears the unmistakable battle-howl of a werewolf doing battle in gauru form. He breaks into a sprint and charges up the stairs to the aid of his pack-mate, grabbing when he thinks is a golf club from the umbrella stand as he dashes past.

Lewis shifts and howls as challenge and his adversary replies in kind, his features shifting into a demonic visage.
The werewolf slams into the vampire, swatting him down with a massive claw; but the demonic undead reacts supernaturally quickly, righting himself and counter-attacking with fingers that have elongated into razor-sharp knives. Hideous slashed split the blood of the werewolf, the the exultant vampire presses his attack.
The gauru slashes and claws, trying to use his superior reach injure his foe at a distance, but the agile vampire slips under his guard and stabs his hands under Lewis’s ribcage, reaching towards his heart. However, Lewis had been feigning; getting the vampire close had been his intention. He bear-hugs the vampire, crushing him in his grip and driving his claws deep; before the vampire can react Lewis’s maw engulfs the head of the pinned vampire and in a surge of strength Lewis rips out his claws and tears the vampire’s head from his neck.
Lewis crunches up the skull of his enemy, using the essence liberated from it to begin healing his wounds. The body the vampire staggers backwards and begins crumbling into ask; Denton arrives and finishes the job, stabbing the umberalla that he picked up through the vampire’s heart and then opening its, scattering the dust of the creature. Lewis gains control of himself and drops out of gauru into dalu without entering death-rage.
Moments later Vellum, enters the room and shares at the wreckage. “What have you done to my lab?!”

There is a triumphant but pained howl, and the car containing Summer, its interior slick with the blood of werewolf and vampires, clashes into the front of a fashionable clothes shop. As the defeated vampires crumble to ash, Summer clambers out of the car in dalu form. She burns essence to heal her injuries, but is unable to close the wounds inflicted with the sliver blade (thought she does slow the bleeding). She grabs the knife that inflicted her grievous injuries and snatches a blouse from the dummy by the window to staunch her wounds, before walking off as briskly as she can manage, her coat drawn close to conceal her injures and bloodstained hands.

Throwing Down with Cultists
Keep your eyes on the mcGuffin...

Lewis fumbles that catch as a train moves past, obscuring the view.
Figures start to move into the station (Winterblack’s men)
The cultists retreat from the fight and switch to running after Lewis – clearly the priority is the case.
Summer and Denton run over the bridge with celerity, racing against the cultists.
Winterblack walks into the station (and is identified by Petrovitch). He summons up eldritch power (which clouds the minds of those present).
Lewis is yanked onto a train as it pulls off, and drops a case (which Vellum sees).
Summer trips and falls down, injuring her leg.
Vellum hurls the case at Denton, knocking him onto a train.
Cultists jump after Denton, and Summer burns essence to heal her wounds and gives chase.
Winterblack blasts a couple of cultists to ash, and his men expertly drop a few others.
Vellum assesses Winterblack’s power and decides to look innocuous and helpful. He casts healing spells to patch up the Mafia heavies.

Lewis is taken by surprise, but his quick reflexes and instinct for street-brawling allow him to turn the tables in a brief but brutal scrap, and he throws his adversary off of the train as it picks up speed and the doors close. He takes a moment to crouch down and switch the contents of his case with that of a case in the luggage section of the train.

Summer leaps onto the train and joins in the melee with Denton and a couple of cultists, before the low archway of the station causes them all to hit the deck.

Vellum carefully negotiates a tense meeting between Winterback and Petrovitch, leaving himself looking calm and capable, but non-threatening. In the brief exchange it becomes clear that Winterblack (who heads a powerful finance company and is clearly a major player) found out about the meeting and came to try and obtain the scrolls. He seems willing to pay for them, and appears determined and businesslike, but not ruthless. He also clearly dislikes the cultists of the Winding Path.
Vellum eases Petrovitch’s distrust of him by claiming the he agreed to meet in good faith, but that the statue was stolen from him (hinting that he suspects the winding path). Winterblack and Petrovitch appear to be rivals, but not bitter enemies. They both offer to buy the scrolls or statue from Vellum should he come into possession of them (with slight and subtle hints that they would be displeased should he acquire them and keep them secret), and then leave.
Vellum decides to make himself scarce before any more trouble arrives (such as the police), and leaves the station as Winterblack’s men clear up the mess.

Lewis spots a suspicious figure on the train in front of him, and sits behind him. When the train enters a tunnel a minute later, both men move at once. Lewis reacts quickly and comes out on top in the ensuing brawl, and end up throwing the case out of the window (the cultist leaps after it).
Lewis picks up the bag containing the real scrolls, and calmly gets off at the next station.

Summer pulls off an acrobatic martial arts move which ends up with the cultist she faced off against spun around and knocked down, and with her on top of him. Pinning the grappled cultist to the roof of the train, she interrogates him while Denton fights and struggles with the other cultist just a couple of metres away.
In response to Summer’s questioning, it becomes clear that her cultist is a man named Jeff, who isn’t the sharpest tool in the box.
The fight takes a bad turn for Denton as the cultist attacks with fervour and ferocity as he struggles for the case, and Summer responds by rolling Jeff off of the roof of the train and planting a kick in the leg of the cultist, allowing the Denton to garrotte him with his earphones.
With the cultists dispatched, the two werewolves leap to safety (Denton parkouring onto a footbridge and Summer using a signal as a fireman’s pole) and depart for headquarters.

As Vellum leaves the station, he sees Philip Travers driving away in a dark blue Renault Laguna, and decides the follow him, determined to find answers.

A Meeting at the Station
"Psst... your grandmother is ill"

Denton goes on a date with Rose Price (the woman from Chiron). Immediately after the date Rose is accosted by a mugger who steals her handbag; Denton arrives in the nick of time to fend him off.
We then discover that Denton set the whole thing up; he pays off the mugger and keeps her bag.

The pack meet up back at their offices and discuss how they should approach the meeting.

Vellum sits by the bench as instructed in a telephone call, whilst the rest of the pack take up positions loitering around the station.
Lewis sits on the platform across the tracks reading a paper and checking his phone.
Denton and Summer pretend to be a rowing couple, who have a shouted argument as the meeting starts and then storm away from each other in a huff, giving them an excuse to position themselves either side of the mafia and Vellum.
The mafia boss (Vladimir Petrovitch) sits down with a couple of bodyguards on the bench next to vellum and initiates contact. He indicates that he believes Vellum to be in possession of the statue, and offers to exchange to scrolls for it.
Vellum bluffs admirably, proving cagey whilst subtly probing for more information. He discreetly casts a spell allowing him to plant a specially marked coin (essentially an arcane tracking device) on Petrovoitch’s right-hand thug.
At this point, Lewis spots a woman with a magical aura who appears to be watches the meeting intently, and who has one hand in a coat pocket, either sending a text message or performing the gesture of a spell.
A train pulls up to the platform, and Summer’s instincts cause her to glance at a group of passengers who disembark together. They have a determined expressions and a strange air about them, and they begin walking purposefully towards the meeting. Moments later, Denton and Lewis also stop a few more people also converging on Vellum’s position with a determined air.
Petrovitch grows suspicion of Vellum’s bluff, and thing start to look as though they are about to go badly wrong.
However, at that moment a gunshot rings out and on of the mafia henchmen jerks as a bullet finds his shoulder. As screams of panicked commuters fill the station, and pack swings into action.
Denton spots the gunman (who is only a short distance away from him) and body slams him, knocking the pistol out of his hand and causing it to clatter off the platform and under the train.
Vellum jumps backward away form the gunshot and casts life-shield. As he does so, a perceives the aura of the new attackers and recognises it from his past – these are cultists of the Winding Path.
Summer surges forward in a burst of speed and kicks the nearest cultist in the groin.
The mafia draw pistols and drop into firing stances as cultists rush towards them, but don’t react quickly enough to prevent them from stealing the briefcase that presumably contains the scrolls.
The cultist the Denton is grappling writhes impossibly in his grip, and Denton is left clutching empty air.
Lewis runs towards the gap in the trains holding his suitcase (which is similar to the one that the mafia bought), and catches Denton’s glance.
Vellum sidesteps as one cultist charges him with a knife, and slams the man into a bench. Somehow, the cultist’s limbs and features twist in midair allowing him to absorb the blow and bonce back. The cultist’s eyes widen in an expression of shocked recognition, and he hisses “Grey!…” before Vellum takes him down with a halberd blow.
Denton appears in from of the cultist fleeing with the briefcase and pepper-sprays him in the face (a flashback reveals that he acquired the spray earlier that day from Rose’s handbag).
Denton grabs the suitcase, parkours along the platform, at throws it to the waiting arms of Lewis.

the Investigation Continues
Experiments, interogation, and graffiti

Summer scrutinises her spiritual resonance in a mirror, and is relieved to find that the malevolent spiritual energies hosted in the vampire she ate are being neutralised by her supernatural digestion/immune system.

Vellum takes vitae sample from the vamp in his lab (“Mr Jack”), then scrutinises it and the vampire that it came from with spirit vision (perceiving the malignant and foreign spiritual entity within the vamp).

Lewis suits up and heads to the architecture convention via a shortcut through a partially disused industrial estate.

Summer Gets food for Chad the ghoul, talks with him a while, building up a rapport
She discovers a bit more about his history (it seems that he was something of a drifter and occasional stoner; he met up with the vamps just a few months ago at a nightclub called “Ivan’s Place”.

Vellum discusses with Summer his findings and the possibility of performing some sort of spiritual dialysis on the vamp.

Whilst walking through a disused part of the industrial estate (some old train sheds), Lewis sees some interesting graffiti: occult symbols seem hidden amongst the spray paint. He investigates for a while, taking some photos and a few notes.

Vellum goes to work, discusses the scrolls with Helen (his boss), and speaks to a colleague about the ongoing scroll translation (it appears to be some sort of narrative)

Lewis bluffs his way into the architecture event (info will be used in flash-backs)

Vellum meets Phillip Travers again in the reading room. Vellum leaves and lurks across the street, watching as Travers leaves a short while later. Vellum then receives a mysterious phone call about the statue, and is asked to come (alone) to a meeting that night at a train station.
Vellum asks Denton to investigate CCTV footage of phone-box from which the call was made.

Lewis heads back and stops by the bookshop/cafe, where he realises that one of the symbols that he saw was a representation of the sword in the stone (or perhaps some sort of Christianised Thor’s hammer?)


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