- Word comes down from the Sept of the Winter Wolf, informing the pack that [[Kroder’s Pass]] seems to be in some sort of peril. While the Wendigo that populate the Sept have no particular love for or interest in the little community, they’re well aware the pack has roots there from their Rite of Passage I years ago. Thus it is something of a courtesy call.
- Strangely, Mother Larissa proves unable to open a Moon Bridge to the northern Sept. It isn’t until the pack themselves arrive that it suddenly roars open as a clear invitation from Winter Wolf himself. Passing through, the pack finds themselves as guests of the Sept once more. They can offer little more detail other than a general observation of heightened activity toward Kroder’s Pass, possibly related to the corporation the pack had Rite of Passage I.
- Travel to the town revealed that everyone had seemingly left, and while they clearly took some possessions with them, it wasn’t nearly enough to indicate a full move. Only Omnicron vehicles roamed the streets, like some apocalyptic wasteland. Signs everywhere spoke of a highly lethal toxic spill, but little of that could actually be discovered by the Garou. The town’s Umbral reflection was a scene out of nightmare, with a deadly storm almost obscuring the horrifying, corrupted armada of Bane-infested spirits – far too many to battle alone. Rather than assaulting the corporation directly, the pack chose to follow the scant signs of where the townsfolk had been led. Many appeared to be heading toward the relative safety of Quebec, but others had been led deeper into the snowy tundra. This brought them to an encampment in the middle of nowhere, which proved heavily guarded.
- Amun laid out a plan of ambush, in which he drew attention to himself with shots from the rifle The Smiling One Finale. The rest of the pack approached to bury themselves beneath the snow, leaping forth once their foe was near enough. Making short work of the corporate thugs, inspection of the tent revealed that many inhabitants of Kroder’s pass. Some had been placed in strange, highly advanced pods that seemed to be keeping them asleep and monitoring their lifesigns in the process. The rest were frightened and confused, but none were worse for the wear.
- After freeing several townfolk from their pods, figures began to approach the camp. Rather than security forces, it appeared to be an effete man flanked by two burly guardians. All looked ill-equipped to be so deep in the wilds, but it soon became evident the two were fae of some fashion. They expressed their disappointment in what had unfolded, apparently having made a deal with the corporation to keep some of what they called the “Dreamers” asleep to feed them. Rather than battle, they presented the option of a different form off alliance. If they could select some “Winter Knights” from the pack, expecting them to perform the occasional service, then the winter court would work alongside the Garou’s interests in the area. Dissatisfied with the notion, the pack declined and Amun struck a killing blow upon the man that had introduced himself as a Duke, unleashing a brief but intense blast of ice and snow.
- Files dug out from the corporation’s camp revealed a direct connection with Omnicron, which appeared to be doing something new with the mined out crater the pack had nearly collapsed during their Rite of Passage. After taking enough time to return the displaced inhabitants of Kroder’s Pass to their homes as a temporary measure, the pack set off again.
- A facility sat on the very lip of that crater, heavily guarded and seemingly built for medical experimentation. After utilizing the corporation’s own vehicles to crash through their security gates, they slaughtered the guards to a man. Inside were several terrible examples of experimentation on Garou, most of whom had been exposed to deadly diseases time and time again. The purpose was not clear, but it was decided that none of the barely-living, wretched souls could be spared. They freed the Garou from their misery and burned the station to the ground.
- Deciding the only way to purify the area was to do battle with whatever force had seized upon the corruption caused by the toxic spill, the pack rallied their known allies in the area. Though the Sept of the Winter Wolf proved reluctant to take any interest in what they deemed “human” endeavors (even if those endeavors encroached upon the edge of their protectorate), they promised to deliberate. In the mean time the pack sought Bill, their sole Gurahl acquaintance. Having felt the corruption in the land, he agreed to serve as a healer in the back lines. Battling side-by-side with his Garou cousins felt too risky to the old bruin.
- Upon their return to Kroder’s Pass, it was clear the Wendigo had rallied at last. Their Theurges had divined that their foe was Aanakalliiq, a foul and powerful cannibal spirit that existed in the Pure Lands even before Garou first set their feet there. As in the past, it had opened a portal to a wicked sub-realm adjacent to Malfeas, where it could call in near limitless Banes to infect the realm. It would take the strength of the entire Sept working in unison to fell the creature, but while the Wendigo deemed the pack allies of the Pure Ones, they demanded the Cliath fall in line behind their elders.
- The Wolves of Montauk resisted this order, insisting they had brought this enemy to light and thus they deserved to lead the charge. It was a clear challenge, taking the combined loyalties of the entire pack behind their unlikely Bone Gnawer alpha Jules “Against-All-Odds” Scranton. The pack’s solidarity eventually won out, with the understanding that if the young Garou were to command Wendigo forces, the Wendigo would expect that the pack themselves served as part of the strike force against Aanakilliiq itself. They agreed, and began planning for war.
- The enemy’s weakness was cold. It had originally been an infant left to die in the frozen snows, and so mystically empowered cold was still the means for its destruction. Returning to the corporation’s different outposts, the pack managed to salvage several tanks of liquid nitrogen. The chemical’s spirit was Awakened, and they made deals of Gnosis to give the chemical cold the added kick of spiritual strength.
- With dozens of Garou in the spirit world and in the flesh to distract the foul army of beasts at their enemy’s command, the pack managed to slip through to the very Hellhole in which Aanakalliiq resided. There they faced the wicked thing, which took the form of an infant with a head too large and a maw filled with razor sharp teeth. Battle was waged, but the pack could barely keep from falling beneath the forces it called, much less strike directly at the leader. An early attempt to strike by Artorias “Downfall” Thorolund left him vulnerable to the cannibal-spirit, who bit away and devoured his hand and half his forearm, leaving him unable to wield his klaive. The best they could manage was to drive the creature back into it’s realm with their Talens of cold before leaping through the Hellhole in pursuit.
- Though the near-Malfean landscape threatened to drive the pack mad, it was in the Bane’s own home that they made their stand. Only here could they truly destroy it, as all who had faced it in the past failed to do. Winter Wolf joined them, infusing them with protective energies to weather the constant tide of Banes and the deadly cold of the realm. It took every trick, every scrap of the pack’s fury and spiritual energy to lash out against Aanakalliiq as the portal back to the Penumbra began to close, but they very narrowly managed to slay the creature and race back through the gate before it slammed shut a final time.