The Beast Tower

4. The Tailor and The Pure

The pack’s newly-formed Totem pact with Crash’s former totem, Matrix, demanded that they establish a working Internet Connection for the spirit to make use of. However—a little too coincidentally, it seems—all cable, phone, and internet service is suddenly out in the town and the surrounding area. Not knowing where else to begin, the pack decides to visit the cottage of the enigmatic Tailor, Patrick Delaney, to try to find some answers.

Of course, the sickening glyphs they’d found in the forest nearby had already convinced the entire pack that Delaney was a Bale Hound…

WILLOW: Y’stay out here, Marlon.

Willow takes the lead out of Emma’s truck, and the group knocks on the door of the shack, affectionately referred to by Adam as “Murder Shack #2.”

EMMA: Hi. Mr. Delaney, meet Willow, Nate. Guys, Patrick Delaney, the tailor.

WILLOW: Hello, Mr. Delaney.

TAILOR: Emma Ross. Do come inside.

Delaney looks Emma over, and then steps aside to allow the pack into his home.

TAILOR: I see you’ve changed. I was hoping you would come find me afterward, but I didn’t expect you to have found…other company already.

WILLOW: I was there when she changed. Nate changed yesterday.

TAILOR: I see. And the one who’s urinating on everything in sight—not with you?

He was referring, of course, to the fact that Marlon had urine-marked the part of the forest containing the unnatural-looking glyph scratched on to a tree. A careful exchange ensues, wherein the Tailor and the new pack each feel the other out. The Tailor invites them to sit and to make themselves comfortable.

TAILOR: There’s a reason you’re here, I assume.

WILLOW: Oh, mostly just to talk with the other wolf we sniffed around. Didn’t know who you were until Emma sniffed her father’s suit, and decided we’d swing out here.

NATE: Introduce ourselves. Courtesies, that sort of thing.

EMMA: It sounds like…there aren’t many of us around here?

TAILOR: Few of us, yes—even fewer, f you don’t count the Pure.

WILLOW: You’re not Pure, yourself?

TAILOR: No. I am not.

NATE: I’m guessing…Storm Lord?

WILLOW: Rule number one, cub. Never feed someone an answer.

EMMA: I thought rule number one was ’Don’t eat people.’

WILLOW: Well, that too. Rule number one of being social, maybe? But I guess not eating people would be a good first rule of being social, too.

The Tailor answers Nate’s question by raising his palm, causing a spirit brand on his hand in the shape of a Half Moon to materialize in blazing silver—and for a gust of wind to pass briefly, unnaturally, through the room.

WILLOW: Storm Lord. Elodoth.

TAILOR: Always ask for proof. Lies are cheap.

With some credible identity provided, the pack seems to relax slightly. More information is exchanged, in which the Tailor explains a little about auspices, Tribes, and spirit brands to the cubs, before the ‘Interview’ continues.

NATE: So why these old falls?

TAILOR: Why not?

NATE: Because everyone’s got a story. I don’t know yours, but—it’s become kind of significant to me, hasn’t it?

TAILOR: As my kin, you are my friend by default. But that doesn’t mean I owe you my autobiography.

WILLOW: Are you alone out here?

TAILOR: Yes.

WILLOW: Hard on the Harmony.

TAILOR: I manage.

As the exchange begins, once again, to become uncomfortable, Willow turns the conversation back around to a more constructive topic: she shares some of what she learned in her dream, and suggests that she thinks the Tailor might know something about the recent blackouts. He claims that this is the first he’s heard of it, but he volunteers an educated guess: he believes the loss of data activity in the area to be the result of the deceased Iron Master, Crash—or one of his spirit allies. But the tension is renewed when Willow can’t seem to contain herself:

WILLOW: Do you think I created that Wound?

TAILOR: What a fascinating question.

WILLOW: I am not so blind as to not notice the long looks, and the way which you seem much more friendly with the cubs than I.

TAILOR: I weigh my words carefully. I’m afraid you mistake my consideration for suspicion.

WILLOW: I do.

TAILOR: There is no Wound in this area.

WILLOW: I see. And any other uratha that you know of?

TAILOR: What fascinates me even further is that you don’t ask for clarification when I say such a thing. Clearly you’ve been to the spot; your absent friend urinated on it. Clearly you believed it was a Wound. Now, I tell you that there is no Wound, and you simply change the subject. Is that because you think I am hiding something from you?

WILLOW: I always hear amazing things about Storm Lords being good at tactics. And being able to nearly read others’ thoughts.

NATE: Everyone hides things. The interesting questions are how, why, and what.

EMMA: What is it, then?

TAILOR: It is a glyph. A mystical marking, in an ancient language used commonly by worshippers of evil spirits known collectively as the Maeljin. They are also typically associated with Wounds—hence the confusion. But if you were there, and if you were paying attention, you would have noticed that the Hisil is undamaged, and that there is no locus.

WILLOW: I did notice that. I figured it was the beginning of a Wound, or that there was a Bale Hound attempting to create one.

TAILOR: Good guesses. Wrong, but good.

The Tailor informs the pack that he is aware of what the not-Wound actually is, and that there is nothing that needs to be done about it. Hi’s obvious possession of knowledge, and obvious unwillingness to disclose it, begins to agitate the pack.

NATE: Mr. Delaney, I’m new, so forgive me if this is too blunt. But what do you want?

TAILOR: What makes you think I am the one who wants anything? You are the ones who have come to my house. You are the ones asking the questions.

NATE: Simply faith that you are, like everyone else, an individual with interests.

TAILOR: Arrogant of you to assume that my interests require you at all.

WILLOW: Who initiated you? Where are you from, originally?

TAILOR: The tone of this conversation is beginning to turn from friendly exchange of information to interrogation. You may want to consider this a little more carefully.

WILLOW: I was born on Shelter Island to Heartseeker, Ithaeur of the Bone Shadows, and his wolfblooded mate. I was raised in Niagara Falls by Orenda, Ithaeur of the Bone Shadows. I first changed there. Where were you from initially?

TAILOR: You’re assuming I wanted to know these things. I don’t actually care where you’re from—and I don’t see why you telling me that means I should share the same with you.

NATE: Perhaps we should go.

As they wrap up their visit, the Tailor offers the pack some pieces of advice: he tells them, first, that they are likely to find the culprit of the Internet sabotage in the Hisil reflection of an Internet provider; second, that they should cross over to the Hisil at a locus they know and trust; and third, that they should be prepared, as they travel, to deal with the Pure who are likely to be patrolling the area. Still tense from the meeting, the pack thanks the Tailor for the advice and beats a swift retreat from the cottage with every intention—despite Marlon’s objections—of following it.

The pack returns to Crash’s bunker, and—collecting some scattered and broken technical equipment for chiminage—gathers themselves and crosses over to the Hisil. Emma’s natural sense of direction and her knowledge of the area allow her to take the lead, to lead the group to the northeast, to the location of the nearest cable and cell providers.

They emerge out of the bunker in the Hisil and begin their journey through the woods and along the road. First, they encounter a white-winged bird sitting in a tree, which seems to be watching them. This is the pack’s attempt to deal with it:

WILLOW: Pigeon. Nate—if it is its territory, we want to be polite about crossing. If it serves the Pure…we want to be polite so it won’t go tattle on us. So—why don’t you call out, be respectful, and chat with it?

Nate steps forward and tries his best First Tongue:

NATE: Hello! Greetings!

The bird promptly flies off.

NATE: An auspicious beginning.

Sure enough, Nate’s sarcastic prediction foretells trouble: within just a few minutes, the pack hears howls coming from a number of directions around them. Then, a few minutes after that, a pair of Urshul-form werewolves—one white, one dark—steps out, teeth bared, to greet them.

EMMA (first tongue): Passing through.

WILLOW (first tongue): Anshega. We no harm land. Seek fix spirit wrong.

In response to this, the two Pure grunt and growl at each other for a moment—and then the darker one runs off into the treeline, Marlon chases after him, and all hell breaks loose. Fortunately for the pack of young Forsaken, they outnumber the Pure significantly, and find that the battle is actually weighted heavily in their direction. Within a few moments, Nate, Emma, and Willow manage to subdue the white wolf, while Marlon single-handedly takes down the darker one. As the white-haired wolf—now subdued to the form of a blond teenager—identifies himself as Jeremy Christiansen, Marlon hauls the dark-haired wolf back to the pack, dragging him by the hair.

WILLOW: Man, is this a Pure pack of preteens, or what?

JEREMY: Keep hanging around. You’ll find out soon enough.

WILLOW: How many in your pack, Christiansen?

JEREMY: Two hundred.

The Forsaken pack begins to bicker a bit, as Marlon suggests that they kill the two Pure scouts. He claims that doing so is the only way to keep the Pure pack at large from tracking them down with ease. But Nate, Emma, and Willow are all against it—and Marlon’s pleas are swiftly silenced. This prompts Jeremy to call them all pussies, and to warn them that his pack has got no qualms about finishing its prey off.

Leaving Jeremy and his friend there to howl blatantly for aid, the Forsaken pack tears off into the spirit wilds, attempting to reach their destination ahead of the tide of Pure being called down upon them…

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