Only three of the Shadow Lords remained. The alpha, Anna; the treacherous Conrad; and the hidden archer, Nadia. Conrad was still suffering the effects of Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, thanks to Conclin. And Rizdaveez was ably fighting Nadia one-on-one. The remaining Fenrir were able to focus all their intent on Anna.
She continued to viciously gnash and claw at the prone Conclin, knocking him unconscious. Reið sprinted over to the cluster and shattered a phial of green mushroom spores which Laria had had the foresight to give him before combat. The cloud of magical spores had a subtle healing effect on the heroes, stabilizing Conclin, though not removing him from the danger.
As a dazed Golgol started to get his bearings, Laria told Jumper that this new body was in fact Golgol. He commanded Jumper to protect the body. The Garou said he would defend Golgol to the very end.
Seizing the first opportunity she saw, Carla was able to grab Conclin and spirit him away from the mayhem. Surrounded by the other members of the Get of Fenris, Anna was brought down by their combined efforts. Trokmutt finished the job by cutting off the head of Anna Kliminski.
Nadia sensed that the tide of the fight had turned against the Shadow Lords, and she began to flee into the forest. Rizdaveez took off after her, but he was not able to keep up with her through the foliage. He returned to the caern.
With only Conrad left at the caern, aggressive interrogation began. Ansem was the first to confront him, asking questions immediately. Reið followed his friend and began to pummel (non-lethally) Conrad as they asked him to explain himself and tell the group everything he could. Ansem tied Conrad up, and Reið remained on top of Conrad – hoping to pin the monster to the ground should he attempt to escape. Disgusted with Reið’s brutality, Laria told Reið to kill Conrad, stating that that was what he seemed to do with those he saw as problems. Though bothered by his friend’s sentiment, Reið did not feel it was the appropriate time to explain his relationship with death.
Conrad seemed more concerned with saving his own skin and escaping than telling the group anything. He advised that he had been manipulated by Tsannik – that Tsannik had some ability to control the minds of others. Naturally, this lead to discussion about whether Conrad could be trusted at all. He told the group that Tsannik would surely be closing in on the Sept of the Five Winds. Altering his appearance to look like the old man the group met on the road, Ansem asked Conrad about forms that Tsannik may have taken. Did any look as he did now? Conrad denied that Tsannik looked like that, but added that he did recognize the semblance. The man was named “Shakey Mac,” though Conrad offered few details on the character.
Conrad begged for the party to let him go. He seemed to believe that he was no longer useful to Tsannik, and as such would be killed. Seeing that the lone Shadow Lord was quite frightened, Reið offered a deal to Conrad. Reið offered to let Conrad go. He would be allowed to flee, with no weapons, no armor… nothing. In exchange, Conrad would need to tell the group absolutely everything he knew about Tsannik and his companions. To show his good intentions, Reið healed Conrad as best as he was able. Conrad leapt at the offer. The other members of the party were quick to remind Reið that he did not speak for the group. Conrad was disheartened. In a panic, Conrad told the group that Tsannik travelled with a fat man, a sickly looking horse, a woman, and a wolf.
When it became clear that Conrad didn’t have – or wouldn’t tell – any more information, the group debated whether they keep him alive as a sort of hostage, whether they ask him to fight alongside them, or whether they kill him outright. After some discussion, the group decided to keep Conrad alive until the fight with Tsannik was over. Conrad was escorted into the caern to await his judgment: either at the hands of the party, or at the hands of Tsannik.
Gere killed Conrad in the caern.
Gere was visibly angered at the end of the fight, and he called the remaining Garou members of the Get of Fenris together. Golgol accompanied his brethren. Though Trokmutt tried to eavesdrop, Gere dismissed him.
While the Garou spoke, Conclin made a very cogent point. Knowing what the party did about Tsannik, it seemed like he had command over the dead. Fearing that Tsannik would be able to revive the scattered corpses, Laria and Reið cremated the remained of the dead Shadow Lords and Golgol. As they pair addressed the bodies with proper respect, Ansem asked Reið if he could speak to Jerry. While he did, Reið grabbed the body of Conrad and he and Laria burned the last remaining corpse in the clearing.
Returning to address the companions, Golgol revealed that Gere had called him out, stating that the former was no longer fit to lead the Get. He challenged Golgol to combat to decide the alpha of the pack. Golgol knew that in his new body, no longer able to transform into a werewolf, he could not pose a threat to Gere. Reluctantly, he handed over the spear Gungnir to Gere.
Golgol then told the group that he was going to leave the caern. Though the group tried to convince him to stay, reminding him that though they were not Garou they fought to protect this consecrated ground, Golgol’s mind was set on his self-imposed exile. Before he left the Sept of the Five Winds, Golgol asked the group if they had removed a necklace from his former body before it had been placed on the pyre. Somewhat puzzled, Laria and Reið stated that they saw no necklace on his body before they gave him to the flames. Even further dejected, Golgol got ready to leave. Before he did, Reið offered his sympathies. As one who had also been to the other side and returned in an unfamiliar body, Reið advised that, in time, he would grow accustomed to his new body. Golgol, the once vibrant alpha of the Get of Fenris shuffled away from the Caern he had once so fiercely defended.
Wasting no time in the face of the incoming threat, the newly appointed alpha Gere said that he needed to find Carla. When Rizdaveez noted that she set off in pursuit of the archer Nadia, Gere said he needed Carla – she would be integral to the coming fight. He asked if anyone else would come with him. Reið volunteered to assist Gere.
While the rest of the party rested, meditated, and looked after the caern, Gere took off into the woods with Reið trying to keep pace. After nearly an hour of exploration, the pair ran into Carla and Nadia, who were walking back in the direction of the caern. Carla spoke to the integrity of the only surviving Shadow Lord. Nadia confessed to Gere that she was unaware that Conrad had manipulated the group, and that she was only following the orders of her former alpha. As a sort of penance, she pledged her bow to defend the holy caern from falling into Tsannik’s possession. The four began the trip back to the caern.
Shortly after Gere, Carla, Nadia, and Reið returned from the woods, another figure appeared. It was Shakey Mac. He greeted the group and told them that he was a Garou, a member of the Bone Gnawers. He had much to tell them all, and he would need their help if they were to defeat Tsannik.
He told them all that Tsannik was indeed more than he seemed. He was a demonic presence which could take hold of others’ bodies. If his physical body was destroyed, Tsannik would be able to possess another. The only way that he could be killed would be to destroy his corporeal form and his spirit at the same time. To do so, part of the group would need to plunge into the Umbra, or spiritual plane, while others remained in the material plane.
Mac quickly assessed the group, noting who would be best suited to the perils of the Umbra. He told Ansem, Laria, and Reið that they would be sent to fight Tsannik’s diabolic spirit. Conclin, Rizdaveez, and Trokmutt would remain in the physical realm to crush his body. Laria asked about Firel. Would he be able to traverse the planes? For the first time, Shakey Mac seemed unsure. He advised that it might not be wise to do so. He was wary of what might happen if such an animal were to attempt the voyage.
Preparations needed to take place immediately. Shakey Mac said that he had a gift for the adventurers, something that would assist them not only in this upcoming fight, but in the future as well. Asking each member of the party to select a totem animal, he advised that this was not a decision to be taken lightly; it would be permanent. As each warrior chose his totem, Shakey Mac gave him a very precise tattoo. The tattoo seemed to carry with it an enchantment, offering each fighter a new level of insight to the world around him.
The party felt more prepared to fight the evil Tsannik, but Shakey Mac told them that he would need to advise them of the dangers and difficulties of fighting across the planes if they were to survive…