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Ravagers Epic, Act III: Scouting of the Hive
August 7, 2003
As the Garou descend deep into the sewers, the first thing to assault them is the enviroment itself. Other than the thin shaft of light provided from the manhole, they stand in complete darkness. The stench is undescribeable, and only those with the strongest constitution are able to keep from losing the contents of their stomachs. For those wearing the wolf form, it's infinitely worse, and none can keep from gagging and dry heaving. Once the stomachs are empty, they hear a light laughter as a young man with glowing red orb eyes and a thick hairless tail wrapped around his waist steps out of the shadows, a lit road flare in his hand. "This is why you guys have no place down here." says the kid some of them know as Sideswipe. "Good thing mom sent me to guide you guys or you'd all be fucked." After advising them to stay in their human shape, and giving each a couple road flares, they start off.
The young Metis keeps a fast pace once he shifts to Crinos, forcing the Homid Garou to run to keep up. He makes turns and choices at intersections with pause and due to the speed and mazelike nature of the sewers, within 5 minutes the Garou are absolutely lost. The knowledge that should Sideswipe desert them, they would probably die in the sewers lies in the backs of each of their minds, and all the stories of Ratkin being creatures of deception lie at the forefront. Perhaps they are instead being led into a trap, a place they can quietly and easily be killed while the Queen claims that the Ravagers were responsible, forcing another group to be sent so that the cycle can repeat itself.
Deeper and deeper they go, the further from Luna's sight the Garou get, the stronger the paranoia rises. The Garou are creatures of open air, of forests, fields and for some even cities. Perhaps that is why the Spiral Dancers almost always choose to build their places of power under the ground, to give them a phsychological advantage. Sideswipe zips around a corner and as the Garou follow they don't see the Metis anymore. The idea of a trap seems certain now until 'Swipe's tail taps Cassy on the shoulder. "Go through the crack in the wall just ahead. That's where it is. I'll be waiting here for you to come back. No way in hell am I goin in there to get eaten by some big lizard thing."
With a roll of their eyes the Garou continue ahead, knowing they're close just by the smell. The stench of the sewers is replaced by the gagging, choking smell of the Wyrm. The crack in the tunnel wall is easily visible, backlit by a sickly green phosphoresance. The crack is large enough that even the massive gate guardian Bob could fit through, in Crinos no less. Once through the crack the man made concrete gives way to rough hewn, honest to goodness stone. Fungus covers the walls in patches, the source of the green light and the ceiling is so high that three Crinos Garou could stand on each other's shoulders and still not reach it. There is no other way in, or out, and the cavern is empty save hidden alcoves in the wall and two long trenches in the floor facing the entrance.
Beyond the trenches lies the throne. Sized for a Crinos and made of steel forged with Balefire, the Garou feel ill just approaching it. The back is lined with spikes, the arms shaped to resemble the open jaws of a dragon. Behind the throne lies a giant basin, like one used by human churches to hold holy water. A passageway leads into a hellish chamber lined with cages, an altar, a sacrifical table and shelves and bookshelves of all types. All empty save a few bones and mounds of dust. In fact dust covers everything in the Hive. The Umbra is just as empty as the flesh world. No banes, no spirits of any type much less whatever the Ratkin saw.
As they return to the physical realm and prepare to leave, Cassy calls a stop, peering into the basin and sticking a finger in. She draws it out, and it's smudged with ashes. Fresh ashes. She inspects the throne more closely and notices that the dust has been disturbed. Disturbed in the shape of a man. Someone has sat in this throne, and within the last few weeks. Something has been burned in that basin, but only Gaia knows what. Whoever it was is certainly gone now, but recently, even if only for a moment, something has returned to the Ravagers' Hive.
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