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.