Logs:Vermintide - The Cabin in the Woods

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Vermintide - The Cabin in the Woods
Dramatis Personae

Brant, Desmond, Katherine, Katharina, Keith, Kharn, Levi, Rowan Ravenwood, with Jackson as ST.

2 July, 2016

The Uratha are able to find another nest of Beshilu fairly easily. This one will require a little less Cunning and stealth to take out. It happens to be out in the greater county area, around the area where the fight between the Urdaga/Anshega task force versus the Bale Hounds, in an old abandoned cottage on the ridge near Blackridge Forest. They find five Beshilu and after dispatching them with the assistance of the Warden, are approached by a Jaggling known as Rat's Swollen Fecundity, a broodmother jaggling. A combination of Brant and Rowan convince the Jaggling to leave them be, and to seek out a way to clear her tainted mind. Part of the Vermintide plot.


FC07, Blackridge Forest

The sun is setting behind Alderstone Mountain, cloaking the forest in a strange purple twilight. There's still enough light to see, but it'll be dark inside of half an hour. After enough scouting, and due to Desmond's knowledge of the mountain, there's been a series of holes in the Gauntlet found around Blackridge Forest. It's the southernmost part of the area. Most of the Uratha and Uragarum present recognize this area as where they fought the Bale Hounds not long ago. It's fitting that this fight should happen here.

A cottage sits nestled in some trees as the group approaches. This is likely the location of where the nest is. While the Beshilu aren't strictly bound to the city, they're also not exactly wilderness creatures. The cottage is one of the few locations in the area that's got any sense of man-made architecture for at least a mile and a half, until one hits the outskirts of Hanging Hills.

The holes in the Gauntlet and eating through the Hisil has caused another to be made aware of the recent incursion by the Shartha, and the Warden of Hanging Hills has appeared almost like a ghost to join the Uratha and Uragarum in their place of cover.

Settled down about forty yards away from the cabin is a small ridgeline that's large enough for people to duck behind it and find cover and hide from any prying, beady, black eyes.

Levi mutters darkly for a moment, his runed armor and black BDU's his get-up for this evening. The Dalu shaped Gypsy Wolf is picking at a thread as his eyes glint in what little light is left. Dedicated to Khonsu, darkness no longer holds secrets from him as he peers down to the cottage. "My kingdom for a small team to go to the Hisil to make this a two-pronged attack." Quickly the alpha of The Murder begins to make a head count, seeing who of his pack has come, who else may arrive. The Warden's presence simply earns a respectful tip of his head before attentions slip back to the gathered and gathering wolves. "Kharn is circling the edges right now for stragglers or advanced scouts. Unless someone has a better plan, I assume we'll all be barreling down the hill in a viking charge? Or can we take a moment to try something different?"

Brant has claimed a spot of ridgeline for his own, Winslow sans bayonet layed out before him with the scope focused on the cabin in the distance. For the moment, he's just observing the structure, and relaying information back to the others hunkered down around him. "I'll let you know if there's any movement, but once you're beyond earshot it's not going to help that much." he offers softly.

Stealth is not always her specialty. Moving to the designated spot on the mountainside, she has her weapons prepped. This seemed like a spare clip in your pocket kind of night. Katt is wordless as she arrives, content to let the big dogs work out the details she lingers on the outside of the gathering. There is a flicker of a lighter as she cups her palm to light her smoke.

Rina's dressed in all black as she has been during times like this, her pale hair covered by a black bandana to further hide her from view. The only thing different about what she's wearing is the bracer she has strapped and tied into place around her left forearm. Levi is given a shake of her head - no, she doesn't have any better ideas - but she is more than willing to do whatever is decided upon to make up for that.

Keith's looking, how he usually does in a jacket, t-shirt and jeans with a hat on. Looking rather lacking for battle as it were as he settles in with the others. "No better plan." he offers simply, squitning ahead into the dark. "If you've any bright ideas I am all ears."

Rowan is standing near a tree with her long hooded coat on. The woman has a large raven sitting on her shoulder and it fusses with the hood that is up over her hair. "Well, I didn't put my woad on before I headed over. But other than that, I'm fine with that plan." says the woman that can't stay dead. There's a nod of her head to Levi and then she looks to Arawn on her shoulder, "We'll get you some eyes, darling." she murmurs to him. After that she goes silent, waiting to see what happens.

PEMIT TO BRANT: There's a shape moving in the darkness somewhere beyond the cabin. It appears to be a scout, judging by the way it's moving. You can see, due to your Night Sight, that it's a Beshilu. Small, even smaller than the one that everyone fought in that house in University City, but fast. It occasionally drops to four limbs as it scrambles over the countryside. In about a minute, it'll be on your position. You do have a clear shot.

PEMIT TO LEVI & KATHERINE: You notice a shadow moving in the darkness. You can't quite tell what it is, but whatever it is, it's fast, and disappears regularly into pools of shadow. It looks small, but still man-sized. Slight, would be the appropriate term.

Katt would pull her gun, but it's already in her hand. Lifting her head, she listens to the others speak and looks off into the distance. Something moving catches her eye and she fingers the safety off. "Movement." Quietly. "Slight, but man sized." A last puff of her smoke and she snubs it out.

"Beshilu scout on the move. His path will cross this ridge in a minute." Brant breathes, following the dextrous movements through his scope. "I can say hello, but that's going to alert them all. Best get moving, and I'll shoot if he spots you."

PEMIT TO LEVI: From the looks of it, the trees just south of the cottage appear to afford enough of a vantage point and hiding spot for the others to get to and keep out of sight of that scout that Brant mentioned. If the scout's moving like it should be, it'll be moving in a square formation and won't be moving in to inspect the area within its intended guard route. The trees are close enough to the cabin where - if people are quick - they can get up to the door and inside. They're also dark enough, with about seven trees in a copse, that there's enough shadow for the whole group to be safely hidden.

Levi tries to look surprised, really he does. Instead there's just a smoothing of his hand down his face. Careful of claws of course. "Right." he looks around at who's there for a moment before he nods at Brant, "There's some..one? moving down there," he points it out as he spots it dancing through pools of shadow in the coming twilight. "That. Did'ja see that?" It flashes again and he chuffs, "Keep an eye on that?" And he looks to the blooded in turn, "Stick close but not too close." Eyeing the other two wolves, Keith and Desmond in turn he smiles, "Looks like we're going first. Stay low, don't let your sillohuette get outlined on the ridge." Without another thought he grins, "Nevermind, sounds like we need to get going." With that the Night Hunter slips over the ridge and starts a nimble descent, sometimes cutting to the left, sometimes cutting to the right, but always remaining behind shrubs and just out of sight to a line of trees that takes them out of the scout's pathway. There is enough shadow for everyone to remain hidden and with quick timing, they can all get inside without alerting a soul.

PEMIT TO BRANT: You see Levi disappear off toward a copse of about seven trees beyond the ridge line. Judging from the Beshilu scout's positioning, this is within the actual guard route that it will take, moving right past it. If it's operating like a guard in any military you've seen, it won't even think to check the trees, seeing as they're so close to the cottage.

At Levi's words, Keith shrugs and the man begins to shapeshift, evidently not too caring for his belongings, as his clothes are torn as he takes the form of a wolf, dark with grey streaks. The noticeably feature being the bird skull still hanging around his neck by a leather cord. After sniffing into the air briefly, he follows after the Irrakka.

Having decided to take up the back and pick off the ones that escape the meat grinding machines with claws, Katt nods to the whispered orders. Checking her backup weapon, she moves to pick her way down the trail the wolves make. Alert, practiced, ready motions with that gun, finger just a breath from the trigger.

Desmond's, again, not the stealthy type. Even his various forms don't allow for it. The Iminir is stark-white in the Urshul form, a shape he takes in a heartbeat. His clothes meld into fur instantly, and the Iminir is with the other wolves. The big wolf-figure with amber-yellow eyes barely manages to stay behind cover. Judging by the almost haphazard way he's doing it though, he probably didn't give a lot of notice to Levi's recommendations.

Rowann lifts her hand and the big Raven goes flying into the tree. Apparently he wasn’t needed for the moment. She then wordlessly goes following after the werewolves, making sure that she’s not too close to them. She didn’t want to step on anyone's tail. Plus if she tripped she didn’t want to take the others with her.

Katharina nods to Levi and falls in close to him, moving when he does. She manages to keep fairly quiet, the blooded light enough as well as sure-footed enough to keep from snapping anything under foot. Alert eyes scan directly in front and to either side, her gaze not lingering in one place for too long.

Since Levi's leading the way toward the shadows, the group is able to find a very quick passage toward what appears to be a copse of about seven trees that afford enough darkness and shade to prevent anyone from seeing them within their boundaries. The Beshilu mentioned by Brant comes into the light, albeit very briefly. It's smaller than the last one, probably about the size of a short woman. It looks like it may have been a woman, judging from the human features that remain. The rat-thing lifts its head up and sniffs at the air, then bounds off toward where the Uratha, Uragarum, and the Warden were just seconds before, sniffing the area out. It seems particularly interested in this, likely smelling the blood of the wolf here. It seems to be searching around that area a little more thoroughly.

Brant watches as the group descends and avoids the patroling Beshilu, and that it finds the trail of scent and makes the utterly wrong decision. Carefully he draws the rifle back and slips the bayonet onto its lug, then rouses the fetish from slumber. Evening Patience. We've got company nearby.

PEMIT TO LEVI: Pressing fingers against the glass, your vision warps and soon you're outside of your body, embodying the spirit of the building and looking through the lone window of the cottage. From the window, which appears to be the basic starting point of this Gift, you can see yourself, along with all of the shadows of the people in your party. You can also see Brant preparing himself by affixing a bayonet to his rifle and waiting for the Beshilu to stumble across him.

Switching your perception, you look into the building. There are four Beshilu within the cottage. The cottage is about twelve hundred square feet, one large room, with a section set aside for a small bathroom. It looks like the Beshilu are excavating in here, as part of the floor has ripped away, and there's a tunnel being dug under the earth. Piles of dirt are thrown haphazardly throughout the cabin, and the furniture has been torn up. It also looks like they barricaded the door by tearing apart some shelving and hammering it into place to block off the exit. The window would likely be the best place to enter. You can barely see into that cavern, but it looks like they've tunneled down at an angle, likely to allow them to travel further under ground. Then tunnel leads southward, toward Hanging Hills.

Levi slips through the shadows, his armor and clothing making no sound as he crouches beside the house itself. Reaching up a tentative hand, the wolf lowers his chin and concentrates. His eyes open again and they're solid white, the pupils having rolled up into his skull. This lasts for a few moments until he's blinking and his eyes roll back down where they should be. Looking back to the gathered wolves and blooded he starts to move his hands and fingers in quiet motions to sign back to Katt, 'Four inside, armed with tools, door is boarded. Door destruction plus window entry equals flanking.'

The black and grey straked wolf follows after Levi, yellow eyes stare at the motions, quite clearly meaning nothing to him. But never the less he seems to catch something on the air as he stretches, baring teeth. Ready to pounce, as it were.

The Beshilu back at the ridge suddenly stumbles upon Brant with his rifle and bayonette. It squeals in a high pitched noise and begins to leap at him. Likely, it doesn't understand the rules involved in fighting someone that's more or less armed with a spear.

Katt is waiting in the nearby gathering of trees. Lowering her voice, she takes a moment to read his signals. "Four with weapons. Door is boarded up, we need to hit there and the windows." For waiting for the signal. A pause as she hears the distant sounds of scuffling on the ridge. "I'll take one of the windows." A nod to the cottage.

One does not simply leap-nom a Marine! Not when they have a bayonet fixed and waiting. Brant thrusts the sharpened blade toward the beshilu scout, catching it in the flank but not completely disuading its attempt to pounce. He draws the rifle back, then lifts the butt to help fend off the incoming teeth.

With the squeal of the rat being stabbed by a Marine off in the distance, the inevitability of the moment comes to Desmond. He doesn't make any sense of the hand motions Levi offers after utilizing the window's gifts, but it's apparent enough that he's counting out numbers on the interior. And with that, Desmond moves forward towards the front door, low and quiet even if his white fur doesn't provide the most concealment possible.

The Beshilu, stabbed as it is in the flank, gives a mighty roar. As much as it can, anyway, seeing as it's a giant rat. It comes out in a torrent of squeaking squeals. It moves to bite Brant and catches him on the arm, gnawing off a bit of his flesh and gobbling it down as it attempts to inject him with the Beshilu's particular breed of toxin, a kind of mix of poison and disease. He can feel it enter his bloodstream, but it's easy enough to shake off from a creature that likely was just created solely to scout around the area.

Rowan looks to the door that’s barred and there’s a bit of a thought process that starts off. “Who wants the door and who wants the windows?” she asks quietly as she lets her axe rest on her shoulder. The axe that she has looks like it's older, but recently been rewrapped and sharpened. When Desmond seems to move closer to the door, she starts to follow the white wolf for the moment. She counts four inside. One of the bonuses of being here.

PEMIT TO LEVI: With your fingers still on the window as you extend your senses to look within, you see the Beshilu first alerted by the sound of the pained squealing of the rat that Brant stabbed. Then, the three round POP POP POP from Brant's rifle has them on high alert. One of them rushes underground, and the other three move into defensive positions within the cabin. One, a curious one, decides to come over to the lonely window in the cabin to peer out and figure out what's going on out there.

"You are Deadite levels of ugly, but I still would have danced a while. But you had to go and get loud. Sorry dear, but I gotta cut out now." Brant says as he steps back, brining the rifle up to his shoulder and quickly squeezes off a three round burst into the startled beshilu's chest. All three .30-06 shells perforate the creatures torso, leaving expanding holes gaping out of her back. "Good thing Mother's got her eyes closed, or she might have winced at that."

The three round burst into the body of the Beshilu causes it to step forward one step, then it collapses to the ground and rolls down the ridge, flipping end over end until it hits a rock about a hundred yards down the cliff, splattering it over the rocks and dirt below.

Levi watches the rats scramble at the sound of gunfire and he mutters darkly. "One down the tunnel inside. We need to catch it," is all he says before he suddenly reaches up with steel-like claws to shatter the window, reach through and pull the unlucky Beshilu that decided to be too curious about the going's on outside. Sinking into the shoulders of the creature he drags it out of the window bodily, dropping it on its face in front of the Kats.

The rat, confused by this sudden turn of events, is dragged through the window and squeals. Along with the blood seeping from its wounds, there's blood on its teeth and dripping from its mouth. Flecks of what appear to be flesh are stuck between its rat teeth. It screeches at Levi and the Uragarum nearby.

Levi carresses the rat a bit more lovingly as he pulls it out of the window frame, it's a gentle thing. More like a tickle. He's taking his packmate's job of tenderizing the enemy for his compatriots.

There's a snarl as the relatively stealthy black wolf with grey streaks that is Keith, suddently shifts into a hulking creature atleast thrice that mass. Shifting into warform the werewolf towers above the rest, claws and teeth tearing away breaking the door down with ease. His eyes already starting to go hazy with rage as he lets out a glutteral snarl at the stench of hosts and their spiritual taint.

With ease, the Gauru-formed Keith is able to rend the door asunder. Once done, the others near the door are able to see within. They see half of a Beshilu pulled through a window in a cottage that's about twelve-hundred square feet. In front of the door is a collection of debris from broken furniture, designed to keep intruders out. Clearly, it hasn't done its job. Scrambling up and over it wouldn't be too difficult, but would likely pose a hazard judging from the way that things have been stacked to ensure they don't fall apart. Alterately, someone strong enough could just burst through the destroyed furniture debris.

There are two other Beshilu within; one that has two tails that whip back and forth and another that has larger claws than average, likely for burrowing. Those sort of claws would be terrible if used to burrow into someone's flesh. There aren't as many normal rats around as there were in the house in University City, but the stench of them can be scented out by any of the wolves out of their Hishu form. They're near, but not in the building.

A large tunnel has been dug out of the floorboards and digs down at an angle into the earth, heading southwards toward Hanging Hills.

Rowan looks over to Keith as he goes all war wolf on them. Alright then. With the door out of the way, the tiny redhead clambers over the debris and the axe is held over her head while she does it, once she’s on level ground again she rushes the one with the big claws and arcs the axe down into it. But it’s not a fatal hit.

The rat with the giant burrowing claws, about six inches in length, brings them down in a quick and vicious slash against Rowan's chest. It leans forward and utters something that sounds like a threat to her. Those who speak the First Tongue realize that the rat seems to be far more intelligent than most of its kin, because it just said, "You will be offal, Warden," to Rowan in the First Tongue. Despite that, the Beshilu's attack and the powerful disease in its claws is warded mostly off by the Warden.

The rat finally moves its way out of the window and raises its head. It opens its mouth and begins to chitter low, but it doesn't seem that the creature is saying anything of note, or even making that loud of a sound, despite the fact that it's been stabbed at and clawed twice.

PEMIT TO BRANT, LEVI, DESMOND, KHARN, & KEITH: As the Beshilu raises its head up to the sky, you hear a high pitched screeching noise in your mind, which is nearly unbearable, like glass being scratched by metal, or fingernails on a chalkboard. It's both impossibly loud, and can't be good at all.

PEMIT TO BRANT: You've encountered this before with other Beshilu. It just made a telepathic call for help to any other Beshilu in the area. Judging by how much it's changed its host, this Beshilu's Essence is likely incredibly powerful. It's possible that may have been heard anywhere between ten to fifteen miles around.

Katt doesn't give it much time to chatter. She's already taking aim and pulling the trigger, as soon as there is no collateral damage. She manages to send a bullet right into the things chest, the .44 making a significant hole.

The rat with the twin tails bursts through the wreckage. While Levi was correct in that they've all got tools of some sort, Keith and Desmond note that this particular Beshilu has a knife that looks almost like a relic on its belt, tethered there with a rope. The knife gleams in the darkness as it lashes out with both its tails, missing with the first one and then whipping Keith across the face with the tip of the other. It leaves an open, weeping wound on his face.

With the door ripped to shreds by a Gauru-Keith, the objective is clear. A double tailed full grown rat with a dangerous looking knife is set upon, as Desmond bites deep into fur and muscle on its side. The Iminir growls out threats as the second bite isn't enough to drop the beast, leaving the Iminir threatening the war-like Beshilu with angry urshul sounds.

Brant winces at the sound emitted by the Beshilu, then tightens his grip on Winslow and begins running toward the melee. As he closes in, he calls out, "Deal with these quickly! That one just let out a call to all beshilu in ten to fifteen miles!"

Levi is done playing with his prey it seems, and with a vicious snarl he sinks his clawed hand into the rat's throat to keep it from screaching again. The warning is received and he mutters darkly, "There was one going down the tunnel." Of course the Night Hunter takes it upon himself to be the one to go after it. He uses his armored sleeve to brush the broken glass out of his general path and clammors in to join the other wolves inside.

As Levi throats the rat, its form starts to bulge strangely. The creature's body drops to the ground and it bits and pieces of flesh seem to have something pushing against the inside of it. Suddenly, the dead Beshilu's back explodes open, and from its flesh rats upon rats rush out and start to flee from the vicious assault on the nest. They spread in separate directions, moving as fast as their tiny limbs can take them.

The hulking brute that is Keith continues to savage his way through the rats, enraged by their reeking taint. Locking his jaws around Garbagepail, there's a strange snapping sound as even as he throws the creature around like a doll in his mouth, every bone in its body seems to start to snap, even those he does not touch.

The burrowing Beshilu brings its hand back into a haymaker and slashes into Rowan's flesh. However, the Beshilu's claws are not designed for this kind of punishment -- they're designed to tunnel through the earth and burrow down. The claws snap off the rat's hand and it gives a high pitched squealing scream at the pain of it. The pieces of claw fall to the floor, scattering across the wood. It also unleashes a deadly toxic disease into Rowan's system, but she's immune to it. She feels it start to work within her body; it feels like something particularly virulent.

If a creature like this with this same ability got to Hanging Hills, a disease of this strength would likely spread very quickly and kill many of the residents of the sleepy suburban city.

Filth Rowan hisses out in what broken spirit language she knows. She’s been alive almost 400 years. She’s picked some up! She doesn’t seem too bothered by the damage that’s being dealt to her, but the sudden rush of disease makes her angry and she slams the axe into the Beshilu again.

Katt takes another shot, because damnit it's still wriggling, and making that awful nose. Another two rounds are pulled off....

After the Beshilu dodges out of the way of Rina's shiv to the throat, it puts it right in the crosshairs of Katherine's gun. Half of its head rips off due to the power of the .44 caliber pistol, spraying both women with a mix of brain, gore, and blood. Weeping tumors dripping black ichor - perhaps not noticed initially - on its arms and legs begin to throb as it goes through its death throes, and the tumors burst, sending a shower of that toxic and sickening ichor into Katharina's face and across Rowan's mouth and nose. It smells like death, like disease and poison. They're able to shake off the effects, but the rat seemed to have one last means of defense if the worst should happen.

Kharn had been way out in the woods when he'd heard the cry. Even in his Urshul form he is angry at his speed, wishing to go faster. Grimhildr lends her strength to him as he runs, and a haze clouds the peripheral of his vision as Luna fuels his anger. He rushes past trees and bushes, running through anything he can. When he's close enough to hear the fighting, he shifts into Dalu and enters. The scene before him causes him to slow. The Uratha and Uragarum are dispatching the enemies. He draw's Shar'suthar from the skin on his back but doesn't engage as the last falls. Out of breath, the Firebeard says, "Sorry I'm late." They're his only words as he jogs toward the tunnel Levi has just run into.

Rowan notices the tunnel and that two of the werewolves have ran off after the Beshilu. She moves over to take a knee above the earth and she presses her palms flat as she calls on the surrounding area to move to hinder the fleeing foe. She wasn't letting it get any further tonight.

Everyone within the little cottage will notice that the tunnel appears to be burrowed out with efficiency and smoothed to a degree that it's been made specifically for quick movement. Though the Beshilu is fast, Levi quickly gains on it. In the tunnel, Levi sees part of the earth move up and create barricades, causing the Beshilu to attempt to dodge away from them before being slammed between rock and earth. It manages to pull its way free of being caught by a rising stalagmite, and that's just when Levi catches up to it.

PEMIT TO ROWAN: You feel something odd, and very old, make its presence known in the area. You've heard the Raven's Mockery speak of this creature before. A creature of similar strength, though lesser in rank than she, a creature that holds sway over the rats of Hanging Hills as the brood mother of them all. While she's never been connected to the Beshilu before, Rat's Swollen Fecundity must have been tainted by the recent incursion. It feels like that: familiar, and something you understand almost inherently. Normally Rat's Swollen Fecundity spends its time in Fallcoast, but it appears with the murder of some of her alleged children, she has come to investigate.

Levi caught up some how, with the help of the Warden there was only the rat and the sounds of someone behind him. Without a clear exit the rat gets pinned and the Dalu Gypsy shoves his claws in a rake across the thing's back, tearing out ligament and scratching across bone. Not enough to cripple but enough to damage, he is satisfied at that at least.

Kharn watches as Levi runs into the fray, slashing the back of the host. It's not going to get away, not this time. He drives the sword through the creature with all of his strength. The blade isn't even slowed by it's body. He rips it back out, entrails and blood gushing. He looks over at Levi and grins, turning back toward where the others are.

Up in the cottage, Rowan stands and her head tilts to the side just a bit, like she’s listening to something, or puzzling something out. “That’s not right.” the woman states. “I guess that one of the spirits in Fallcoast has moved into this area as she thinks these are her children now. Rat's Swollen Fecundity, she must have been tainted by the infestation. She doesn’t seem very happy.” she tells the others.

Katharina looks fairly disappointed as she has done poorly during the fight. It is not something she's used to and it hits her hard. Silently fuming, her arms fold under her chest, her shiv still held in her right hand, her expression stormy.

Having moved in to-wards the area where Levi and Kharn disappeared, Katt furrows her brow and looks with caution down the hole they disappeared. As Rowan speaks, she lifts her head and says quietly, "I'm not even sure what that means, but it sounds bad." She comments quietly.

Indeed, there's something not quite right. The Wolfblooded can feel it innately, but a spirit has entered the area. The holes in the Gauntlet caused by the Beshilu are just enough for it to squeeze its body out using the innate ability to Materialize in the real world.

This rat is about the size of Desmond in his Urshul form, standing on four legs as it lands fitfully in the cottage upon pulling itself through the Hisil. The rat creature's fur is tainted with pustules and sores; its eyes glow with a dark malice. In the past, this spirit might have been something that was at least partially kind to the Uratha, likely a spirit spoken to by those whispered suggestions of the Ferals that are borne from Rat. But now, now.

The spirit's belly is swollen to the point of bursting, with tiny paws pushing against the fleshy barrier that prevents the children from escaping out of it that way. It looks pregnant enough to pop, and as it moves through the room, it births two rat spirits that crawl up its fur and escape into a hole created by the Beshilu. It looks to all of the Uratha and Uragarum that are within sight and hisses, "You kill my children," in the spirit tongue.

"It means that the beshilu host is gaining spirit patrons, which is not a good thing. We were distracted by the Bale Hounds for too long, and let matters like these get out of hand." Brant explains, trying to gauge where Rowan is looking and peek over, but not needing to as the spirit forces its way through the reduced gauntlet.

Brant rests his rifle across his left arm as he shifts quickly into Dalu, to better accommodate the First Tongue discussion. "Rat's Swollen Fecundity, we believed these to be Beshilu only, weakening the gauntlet between Man's world and the Hisil. We only do our duty to prevent their spread into a world which is not theirs. I understand that you are from Fallcoast. What are you doing so far from your home?"

The rat broodmother considers Brant's words for a moment, glancing down toward the tunnel where the Blood Talons went before turning back to observe the others around them. Her lips peel back in a threatening gesture, but she doesn't attack -- at least not yet. Instead, she says, "King Rat has spoken and told me that all rats born from our union are my children. Even if these Shartha are in this place, they come from my brood due to my coupling with King Rat." It's probably unclear that King Rat is dead, or at least she hasn't been made aware of it.

"Uratha, you may do your duty, but killing my children should exact a price. And I am willing to bargain for that price." Her eyes turn to stare at both Katherine and Katharina. She watches them for a long time; perhaps a bit too long. Her head swivels to turn back to look at Rowan with some surprise and concern. "And their cries for help have called me to the territory of the Warden, which exacts a much steeper price. I am not to be on this land," she informs Brant. "Allow one of my children to live alongside one of yours," another gesture toward Katharina and Katherine, a swing of her massive head, "--and we will call this a fair deal."

There is upon Katt's face, a look of horror. "Oh...fuck..." Uttered with deep disgust as the thing materializes and looks as if it's ready to burst. For a second, a hand raises her mouth, as if preventing that overwhelming sense of nausea that presents itself. Within a breath, she's inhaled and put her hand under her weapon to steady it again in a two handed hold. The only thing that stops her? Brant and the thing seem to be having some sort of conversation. Her finger hovers over the trigger. If anyone lunges, she might fire. Katt is getting twitchy, "What is it saying?" A slight edge to her voice.

You don’t belong here. At all. Rowan works out the words as she steps in front of the Wolfblooded for the moment. Your ‘children’ were spreading disease. Trying to. she shakes her head. I can’t allow that. It’s my duty to stop it. she growls out the last.

Levi, fresh off of a kill with Kharn is part jogging, part running back to the others alongside the other Talon. When they reach the large cottag room and see the broodmother of the rats. Bulbous and ready to explode with her children. There's a snap of teeth and he growls at hearing the proposed deal. "You are not in a position to be making deals when your family faces eradication as the alternative. Return home now before the violence grows, and you're left with nothing."

Kharn emerges from the tunnel, gore dripping from his blade. He hears Spirit's diatribe and pipes up after Levi. "The Rat King is dead. He was the one who convinced you to go through with this Union, and now you try to make a deal with us? I cut the Rat King in half while he pleaded for his life." He looks at the others, Uratha and Uragarum both. "No need for a fair deal." The blade is brought to the low ready, though he doesn't move farther than that.

Kharn's claim catches Brant off guard, and he looks askance at the Rahu for a moment before returning his gaze to the bloated spirit. "Neither King Rat nor Rat's Swollen Fecundity have the power to free us from our duty. Your children were slain for violating the sanctity of the gauntlet. We will not grant you more shartha to replace those who have paid for their tresspass. If you wish to spare your other children, then depart and inform them they are to retreat from their attempts to enter this world. If they persist, then they too will be dealt with."

Rat's Swollen Fecundity turns her head suddenly to look at Kharn upon his revelation about the Rat King. She snarls at him and says, "So your people's claim to 'honor your prey' is a falsehood." Her tainted fur bristles, and she turns to look back at Brant. After a brief moment to consider his words, she gives a slight nod with her giant befurred head. "You make a good point, little judge," there's a brief pause there, and she looks over to the Wolfblooded again, then to the Warden. "I apologize for encroaching upon your territory, Warden. I shall return to the city."

She pauses once more and looks back to Brant. "I feel," she trails off. "There is something that I feel has been taken from me. But perhaps it is not these children you killed. Perhaps it is something else. I must return to the City and seek out the Spirit, and ask its forgiveness for what I have done." She's very still, then says, "Thank you," in a quiet tone.

With that, the Jaggling disappears, dematerializing into the Hisil, to wobble pregnantly back toward Fallcoast.

Finally, the rest of Rowan's manipulation of the earth comes through and the tunnel collapses once the two Blood Talons are out and a safe distance away. The earth fills in and it leaves this cabin - though splattered with gore, pestilence, and viscera - clear and clean from all of the recent incursion. But there still seems to be more than just this nest. This wasn't even much of a nest. Where else will the Beshilu appear? And what other strange terrors lurk in the dark? Often where there are Beshilu, there are Azlu. And possibly the rumored 'Third Host.'

But for now, the sound of summer crickets rings through the air and the wilderness seems nearly peaceful.