Eight hours from San Francisco to San Diego.
Eight hours just for some lousy scraps of peach wood, and of course it didn’t go smooth. Nothing ever goes smooth.
After finding their way to the Harvest Time pick-your-own-fruit orchard outside of San Diego, the Coterie found themselves in a bit of a pickle. Sneaking over the barbed wire and into the fence, they were ambushed by a group of hunters, led by Faust of the San Francisco Seven. Chen was staked through the heart with a crossbow bolt almost immediately, with Heilyn and Xing taking their fair share of blows before Faust called for a cease-fire. The hunters were not amused, and continued to stalk the Coterie, going so far as to let fly another bolt (merely annoying Professor Afallon).
In the confusion and tension, Nick Strong noticed something lurking around the edges of the orchard, and that one of the unfortunate day-laborers who had been beaten and bound had gone missing. After witnessing their stalker abduct and maul one of the hunters, they surmised that they were dealing with a Garou, a Werewolf. Faust was floored by the discovery, even moreso after Howls-From-Mountaintops made himself known. A grizzled, noble Garou, he bartered (distastefully) with the Coterie to enlist their aid, alongside that of his fellow wolves, to capture the rampaging Cirnos, who was in the frenzied throes of her first change.
Working with Professor Afallon on a snare trap, Faust wove a potent enchantment into the simple snare, while Sam Thatcher made the inexplicable decision to use himself as bait. When the moon-maddened Cirnos caught the scent of the Malkavian, her bestial nature, and innate hatred of the Kindred overwhelmed her, and she lunged forward, ripping huge gashes in Sam’s flesh, from chin to waist.
Unfazed by the assault thanks to his unlife, Sam engaged in a course of action that was unthinkable to any who did not share his… unique… frame of mind. He decided to ride the Cirnos. Luck was on his side, and he pinned the beast’s elbows in a full nelson above its head as he kicked his heels into her sides, guiding her into the snare with the help of Nick Strong.
No sooner did the beast set foot in the snare than the Mage’s enchantment trigger an incantation of inertial dampening, accelerating the beast to breakneck speeds and slamming her into the ground. Sam managed to clear the trap, and suffered only minor injuries, while Howls-From-Mountaintops and his pack leapt into action, pinning the rogue Cirnos to the ground while the other members of the Coterie assaulted her with a handful of ill-gotten silverware.
As a token of his appreciation, Howls-From-Mountaintops bestowed a token upon Sam Thatcher, as well as a Garou epithet, ‘Rides-The-Fury’. He allowed them to spend the day in his root cellar, and crafted a number of sturdy Shillelaghs from a peach tree which he uprooted for them. Sending them on their way back to the city, the Coterie was confronted with another unpleasant truth.
Lu Bu had taken over the Zhei-Fen Triad, the Black Dragon Triad’s main rivals. The members of the Triad had a glazed, soulless look about them, and cracked, white lips. Wei Shen called a conference with the Coterie, and the San Francisco Seven, who had expressed a desire to rid the mortal realm of Lu bu once and for all…