The girls visited the White Dove Bar in order to get information from Marika, but first went back to the Caern of the Urban Seed to let Silver-Shadow rest a bit, as she was quite tired and stressed out at the lack of trees in the huge city. In the bar, Ray talked to the bartender and found out that Marika Balik most likely would show up there later that evening. Ray wanted to talk with Marika alone, so Aya and Veronica waited outside at the car. Later they saw Ray and Marika walking hand in hand out of the bar and into an alley. Aya and Veronica saw Ray shaking her head towards them, but they decided that they could not let Ray go into something that could be dangerous by all alone. So they climbed up to the rooftops and snuck a peek on what was going on.
Apparently Marika and Ray "made love". Aya seemed to try to come to grip with what was going on, while Veronica was both confused and curious. But then it seemed like a ripple went over their sight, and afterwards whatever Ray experienced seemed enhanced to pure ecstasy and she went from a somewhat reluctant to an eager participant. Despite that, Aya and Veronica deemed that it did not seem to be any real danger, so they waited. After all, Ray had apparently entered into this of her own free will.
Later, Ray followed Marika towards her club. Aya and Veronica tried to follow by starting Ray’s car, the Black Beetle. To their surprise the car talked to them through the radio and agreed drive them to Ray. They met Ray outside of the Black Dog bar. Aya was furious at Ray. Not so much for what she had done, but that she took it upon herself to pay what Marika demanded. All three of them were a bit embarrassed when it became clear that Aya and Veronica had witnessed what occurred in the alley. Aya and Veronica told Ray that Marika had done something to Ray, and that seemed to make Ray a bit relived.
Veronica was a bit hesitant to enter the bar, because she was not sure she would be able to contain herself and not punch Marika, but Ray told her that she trusted her to not do that. The girls were expected and were let in despite that many others had to wait in line.
They went to a table where Marika and some of her body guards were. She reveled herself as a Changeling, a Satyr, but before she gave the girls the information about where to find Conrad Richter Helmut. But apparently Ray had not yet fulfilled her part of the bargain yet. A bit later Ray appeared on the stage, dressed in only a skintight dress in some kind of scales, with her skin painted green and with glitter. All made to enhance and compliment her reptilian eye. There she made a burlesque dance that made most people in the bar look at her, including Veronica who drank Coke. Aya was however busy talking to some associates of Helmut, that Marika had pointed out, and tried to find out where Helmut was, but had not much success. Marika promised to have more information to them the next day.
Afterwards, when Ray was finished and had changed back and gotten the paint removed, the girls got in to the Black Beetle. Ray dunked her head on the steering wheel several times before she drove. Veronica asked the Black Beetle if it could turn on the show “The Midnight Cowboy”, and she seemed to enjoy that.
They got back to the Caern of the Urban Seed they saw Silver-Shadow just exiting the Umbra, close to the pond. Ray needed to talk to Silver-Shadow alone, so they went in to the tent they had been given.
Later when they emerged from the tent and ate, they seemed to be relieved and happier. Veronica did not seem to want to go to bed, but instead asked if there was anything else they could do. It was however very late and everyone else wanted to rest. Ray offered Aya and Veronica the soothing blanket, but Aya said that she had trouble falling asleep. Ray however insisted that it would help, and Silver-Shadow wanted to introduce them to Sensei Coy, though it was not a good time to do so now. The talking then escalated to a snow ball fight.
When the snow ball fight ended, Irene Johnson, an elder of the sept of the Urban Seed, asked them about how long they were going to stay. Ray answered that they were there to deliver a package, but had a hard time locating the receiver.
Later in the tent, neither Aya, nor Veronica fell asleep, while Ray and Silver-Shadow snored synchronized. Aya stirred, twisted and turned, while Veronica sat up as if she wanted to stay awake. A skinny, ragged haunted man quietly entered the tent and held up a finger over his lips as a sign to be quiet. Veronica who was the first to see him was a bit surprised, but waved at him to come in. He gestured to wake up Ray, and Aya did so. The man whispered somewhat slurring that they had to get out of there, and that Ray had to follow him. When Ray asked why, he just told them that he was John Smith.
Ray asked Aya and Veronica to look after Silver-Shadow. John Smith took Ray’s hand and they seemed to disappear. Veronica apparently very tired, looked a bit hopeful and asked if this meant there were more things to do that day. Aya looked very skeptical on Veronica in response to that. Veronica said that she did not want to sleep, as she had a calm day, and did not want it to end.
After about an hour Ray returned, reeking of sewer. The said: “Shit is happening, but not tonight. I need to fucking sleep”, and then she collapsed next to Silver-Shadow, almost on top of her. Soon they all slept, even Veronica, eventually fell asleep.
All four of them dreamed that night the same dreams. The first was about a wave of sludge, smog and death, sweeping over St Louise, ripping houses apart. In the wave there were sharks with green eyes and black fur. The Caerns of the Stone Cauldron, the Burning Heart, the Silver Oak and the Rusted Fate were all smacked and completely destroyed. The hairy green eyed sharks tore humans and Garou apart. After the wave passed what remained were smacked buildings, toxic waste and smog. The sharks, now walking on two legs, walked smiling among the ruins, picked up survivors and gutted them alive.
The dream faded, but a new one emerged. A dark individual skulked in a city. He was somewhat diffuse, but he wore a suit, and the suit started sweat blood, which started to flow. He walked through a building, and everything he touched turned to gold. Then the wave from the last dream came and washed him away.
That dream too faded, and one final dream replaced it. The four saw each other and how they all grew up and started to age. As the aged, it was like a heavy burden more and more was placed upon their shoulders, and they became more sad and desperate. But the Wyvern was seen at the distance, and he flew towards them. He landed, put his wings around them and shrieked, making the entire dream ripple. The four Garou were rejuvenated and once again were the girls they were supposed to be. All five of them together managed to attack the dream itself and tear it apart. And the girls woke up.
After a few moments of disorientation, the Wyvern’s voice was heard in their heads: “Poison. It is all around you. Something was in your dreams. Another mind. Tearing upon your.”
“What other mind?” asked Ray. “I do not know, but I came to help you, to rip the illusion apart.” “Thank you, great Wyvern” said Ray.
“It was an illusion. It wasn’t a vision then?” asked Veronica somewhat frightened.
“It was thoughts. Someone else, influencing you dreams, through magic of old.”
“What was it trying to influence all dreams?” asked Ray.
“Decay. The last one. Decay.”
After moment of silence, when it was clear that the Wyvern would not say anything else, Ray said:
“I need to tell you guys something. It is both good news and bad news. I talked to Creek Mother. She will not force me to do something I do not want to do, and she asked me to look out for possible Wyrm infestation here.”
“So?” asked Silver-Shadow. “That goes with the territory.”
“Yes, but she already knew about it. It was one of the reasons that she let us go here. We spoke and she entrusted things to me. So, the terms have changed in the deal, so I am not trapped anymore. I feel like we have her more like an ally now.”
Silver-Shadow looked at Ray, turned around, started to walk out, and said:
“I need to hunt.”
“You can’t do that!” answered Ray.
“I need to do something.”
“You can’t be in Lupus in the city.”
But Silver-Shadow had already left the tent. Aya looked after her and said:
“Someone needs to follow her, or she will get shot.”
“Well,” answered Ray. “She ran away from me, so you have to do it.”
Ray burrowed her head into her pillow, and Aya and Veronica shifted to Lupus and tried to follow Silver-Shadow, but they soon lost the stealthy Lupus. Veronica then returned to the tent.
“I am sorry, but we couldn’t find her,” said Veronica with her usual quiet and serious tone.
“I don’t get it,” mumbled Ray, still with her head in the pillow. “She wanted me to get closer to her tribe.”
After a while Veronica left the tent, there she saw Aya standing and looking concerned towards Kurt Albrecht. Aya whispered to Veronica:
“I know that it is said that a good night’s sleep is supposed to make you look younger. He must have had a really bad night’s sleep.”
Veronica looked at him and whispered back to Aya, still in her serious tone:
“Yes, and he smells older too.”
“And did you see what he was reading?” asked Aya.
“No, I didn’t really, a newspaper I think.”
“He was reading about a killer whale. Wasn’t that one of the pictures you saw in your dream?”
“It was the only piece of garbage I could see clearly. But I don’t understand. Orcas live at the sea, not inland.”
As they were talking, they had gotten bowls of porridge to the tent were Ray was. Aya tried to give Ray a bowl, but Ray didn’t seem to want to have it, and instead said:
“We can’t tell anyone about this. Because yesterday, I talked to John Smith, and there are Black Spiral’s about. They kidnapped him. Which means we can’t talk about this, because they would take us out. We need to do this quietly.”
“I have been told about them, from my grandpa Pioter,” said Veronica, she then continued to tell Aya and Ray what she knew about the Black Spiral Dancers.
After a while the conversation returned to the current situation.
“I don’t know why Silver-Shadow ran away,” said Veronica, “but I guess there is not much we can do about it. She really did everything she could to try to avoid us.”
“Yes,” answered Ray. “I guess we can try to go out and talk to the tribes.”
“What can we say if we can’t say anything about all of this?” wondered Veronica.
“You just act like you are tourists that are interested in the tribe. I think they will be less on their guard. I am a Bone Gnawer, I will be inquisitive and my side is already chosen, and I have an agenda. Or, I don’t know, you can head to the Caern with the Glass Walkers and Silver Fangs.”
“I suppose so,” said Veronica in a low and tired voice.
Ray seemed to take notice of that and asked:
“Why were you so happy yesterday? Give us the truth now, and not lots of shit.”
“I am not really sure,” answered Veronica in a miserable tone. “How can I put this? I didn’t know that sleep could be that relaxing.”
“Well, the blanket is officially yours,” said Ray. “No buts. It is yours now. And you will use it every night to honor that I gave you a present. It is to make up for all birthdays that I missed; also I didn’t give you a Christmas present, did I? And you don’t have to say thank you, just accept it. We want you to feel good.”
“Well,” answered Veronica in a quiet and almost desperate voice. “I guess I have to tell you a bit more about this then. It is about what I usually dream.”
“What do you usually dream?” asked Ray.
“Well, when it is not illusions and prophesies, it is carnage!”
“You have nightmares? Why didn’t you tell us? I literally have had this blanket for a while.”
“It was yours. And I didn’t want to worry you.”
“Aya,” said Ray. “Give her the speech you gave me. It worked on me.”
Aya sad herself down more proper, and spoke to Veronica in a serious and somewhat harsh voice:
“It is not your choice to not let us in. It is not your choice to not let us help. We are a pack and we should work like one, and behave like we are one. We cannot help you if you do not…”
“Aya,” interrupted Ray. “That is too much anger.”
“Well, I am not angry. I just tried to do the same thing that I did to you.”
“Veronica. We love you, we care about you. And if we don’t know how you are feeling we can’t help you. And helping you makes us feel good. It makes us sad to see you so troubled.”
“How can I put this?” asked Veronica. “I didn’t really know what this nightmare was about before, but when I for once didn’t experience it, it is slowly coming back to me, now when I am awake and I can see it a bit more clearly. It is not much, but in the carnage, I can see a Garou. And I think… I think it’s my mother.”
Ray hugged Veronica and said to her in a soft voice:
“We are here for you.”
“I am not sure if it is real, or something I only dream, but I see her be slaughtered. I have had this dream for every night for as long as I can remember.”
“Well,” said Ray and put the blanket over Veronica. “We know how to fight it now. This is your cloak against the dream.”
“But with it I don’t dream at all,” said Veronica.
“Isn’t that preferable?” asked Ray.
“For a day, yes. But now I want to understand it more.”
“Well, you are not ready for that, right?”
“No, perhaps not.”
“It is in the past, so you can’t fix it anyway, right? We will help you get to the bottom of this.”
“But perhaps I can remember more things?”
“Perhaps you can remember more things, when you are a bit older and you can handle it? Or when we are not in the middle of this?” asked Ray.
“And has gotten some nights of really good sleep before,” said Aya, who by now hugged Veronica over Ray.
“Also,” continued Ray. “If you fall asleep without it, I will put in on you. And then I would have to stay awake to make sure it is on you. You know how stubborn I am.”
“Yeah, I know,” sniffled Veronica.
“Remember when I climbed that wall, and got burned? And I do way more for my friends and my family.”
Veronica sniffled out a “thank you” that was merely audible and started to cry into Ray’s shoulder.
“Us girls without a family got to keep together, right?” mumbled Ray into Veronicas ear. After a little while, she said:
“Well, I need to rest, and wait for Silver-Shadow, because I am tired. You look out for each other?”
“We will do that,” answered Aya.
“Don’t get into trouble, I mean.”
But when Ray was getting ready to move Veronica, she noticed that Veronica had fallen asleep against her shoulder. Soon they all slept.
Ray suddenly woke up with a really bad feeling and called out to Wyvern.
“Wyvern, is Silver-Shadow okay? Can you check?”
The Wyvern answered:
“I do not know. I will check.”
After a while, he answered:
“Where is she?” asked Ray.
“I do not know.”
By that time, all three were awake. After a short confusing shatter, they all went out to search for Silver-Shadow. Aya managed to pick up a scent-trail and guided the Ray and Veronica. They eventually found Silver Shadow in a park, in her Crinos form, with serious wounds. Behind her there was a dog, with its spine twisted the wrong way, a few meters away there was a woman with ripped open from her thigh to her throat, and in front of Silver-Shadow there was a baby carriage. Ray, Aya and Veronica rushed forwards, but could only watch as Silver-Shadow struck her claws into and through the baby carriage. The raging beast was all there was at the moment, but slowly Silver-Shadow seemed to come to her senses. Aya threw up, Veronica ran away, but Ray continued to rush forward, and got kicked away by Silver-Shadow, who was not yet completely in control.
Ray walked up to Silver-Shadow and hugged her, as Silver-Shadow in horror looked at the baby carriage and her own blood soaked claw, and howled in sorrow and regret.
“What happened?” asked Ray as she continued to hug Silver-Shadow. “What hurt you? Where is it?”
“Dead,” answered Silver-Shadow in a deep but depressed voice. “I can’t be here.”
She tore a hole into the Umbra and stepped in.
“Don’t go! Silver-Shadow, don’t leave me,” Ray cried out, as she followed her into the rift.
When Aya had collected herself, she heard a faint crying from the baby carriage. There was a baby there. Seriously wounded, bleeding and mauled, but alive, for the moment. She took it, rushed over to Veronica, whom sat under a tree a bit away, and together they stabilized the wounded with talen band aids. The life of the baby was saved, but only for the moment. More care was needed, more than modern medicine were likely to be able to provide, so the only option seemed to be the Gifts of the Garou. Aya took the baby and as fast she could without hurting the baby. She started to go back to the Caern of the Urban Seed, while Veronica went to take care of the scene left behind.
Veronica first put the dog out of its misery, as it still alive, but just barely. The woman was long dead, so there was nothing she could do for her. Veronica then tried to make it look like the damage had been caused by the dog. It was a gruesome work, but she managed to do it, but not without some tears in her eyes. If it would fool anyone who inspected the scene was not clear, but she tried her best. Then she went into the Umbra to tell Silver-Shadow and Ray about the surviving baby.
There in the Umbra, Veronica found Ray and Silver-Shadow in their Homid forms sitting close together and looked tiny and miserable.
“Hello,” said Veronica. “We need to go back. I have taken care of some of the mess there.”
“Take Silver-Shadow,” said Ray.
“Thank you, Veronica,” said Silver-Shadow.
“By the way, the baby is alive. Aya is taking it to the Caern for healing. We had some talens to use.”
Silver-Shadow seemed a bit relieved to hear that, though her eyes were still wet with tears.
“Are you certain?” she asked.
“We managed to stabilize it, but it will take more, much more, and I think only the Gifts of a skilled healer can do something here.
Silver-Shadow continued to cry for a while, being held by Ray.
“You will be fine,” said Ray. “But you will need to go with Veronica now.”
“You are coming with us,” said Silver-Shadow.
“No,” said Ray with a low miserable voice.
“Yes, you are.”
“I think Silver-Shadow got a point,” said Veronica. “Why shouldn’t you come with us?”
“Because I am in pain and I need to think.”
“Of course,” said Veronica she also with a somewhat desperate tone. “Just promise to return as soon as you can.”
“Are you sure about this?” asked Silver-Shadow. “Ray, are you certain?”
But Ray didn’t answer.
Silver-Shadow tore a rift in the Umbra and walked through.
“Go after her and take care of her,” said Ray in a low voice.
“I will,” answered Veronica. “Just don’t do anything foolish.”
“Would I?” asked Ray.
“We need you.”
“I just make everything worse.”
“No,” answered Veronica with tears in her eyes. “No! You are the one who is holding us together. So, yes. Take your time. Think through what you need, but return to us! As soon as you can.”
“Go. Take care of Silver-Shadow. For me.”
After a last look at, and nod to Ray, Veronica followed Silver-Shadow out of the Umbra. They walked away from the scene, and both then shifted to Lupus to run to the Caern, to Aya and the wounded baby.